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Edition 20: Equity by Design

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Page 155 of 299

Cady Noland, Rosemarie Trockel, Albert Oehlen, to name a few of the artists—but it was her own work, paintings characterized by heavy, intense impasto, which riveted my attention. The first painting, to me, seemed to be of a female figure—possibly a Madonna or Magdalene— surrounded by dark red roses resembling those configured in Mackintosh's 'Rose and Teardrop' pattern. To my surprise, Petra informed me that this is a Christ figure, albeit "slightly androgynous." Something in me responded to this unorthodox representation, an admission of the feminine into Christian iconography, heretofore limited, even restricted. The second painting, of a huge, rose-colored, encrusted heart, is, Petra told me, an incarnation of "my own heart, many times broken." She had merely spelled out for me what was already transmitted by the paintings themselves: the beauty and suffering inherent in passion. It is this intensity, religious or emotional, that is missing in contemporary representations of the Rose. Sentimentality has no place in real emotion, or, for that matter, in art. The works of MacDonald and Singh, in time so far apart yet so intimately related, revive the more subtle meanings of this ancient symbol. H Lisa Zeiger Steve Szklarski Photography by HYLAND

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