Judith tries being subtle

05 Mar

The next few posts reflect Judith from a post-Soviet point of view.

Andrei Buryak, “Judith,” 2006, oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm,

Subtle.   Delicate, faint and mysterious, elusive, perceptive, refined, marked by keen insight and ability to penetrate deeply and thoroughly.

Subtle is what this painting is.  Judith’s head half obscured by the drapery, her face turned away into shadow, her nakedness partially covered by the sword, and Holofernes’ head mostly concealed by the bed sheet.   Compared to the other depictions of the story, this has much less gore and overt emotion.   But elements of the story are still evident to the discerning eye.

The key role in Andrei’s works plays an “unnamed” character, who demonstrates to a viewer a distant but at the same time fundamental paradigm of behavior. Reverting to the processes that have been taking place in contemporary art, we can observe the artist’s references to “actions” that are connected with “current” events of recent times; adding ethical basis to an artwork; and a referring the audience to historically prevalent values.(1)

Judith has severed ties.  With a lover, with a tyrant, with a government.   But Judith is still in charge.  Holding power and making decisions.  Not dramatic or sensational.  Just understated.

And poised for the next step.

(1) see more Andrei Buryak at

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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Whorey


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