A muse is someone who gives an artist ideas or a desire to create a work of art. In Greek and Roman mythology, the "muses" were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They were the inspirational goddesses of the sciences, literature, and the arts, and they were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the works of art that were carried down from generation to generation. In the modern world, an artist's muse might be acknowledged, but generally, it is the artist that is accorded full credit for the artwork they've created.Often the relationship between the muse and the artist is emotionally charged, creative and tumultuous.
The inspiration for this rethinking of the role of muses came from a visit to the Mondrian House in Amersfort. In that museum, there is a life-size replica of Mondrian's atelier in Paris. Over Mondrian's bed were photos of a half-dozen nude French women from the Folies Bergère. It struck me that Mondrian, who was quite the lady's man in his day, was most likely thinking about these "muses" as he painted his geometric masterpieces. That made me think---wouldn't it be marvelous if one could take a photograph of what was actually going through Mondrian's mind as he painted Broadway Boogie Woogie? Of course, it is impossible to take a portrait of what is going on in someone's head. The best we can do is to imagine what that person might have had on their mind.
For this series, a model (and muse) Dierdre was requested to pose in a darkened studio while digital images ofpaintings from artists I greatly admire were projected onto her. The result is an imagined reality where Dierdre and the projected images collide and combine---where the muse becomes the canvas, and where the portrait becomes a portal into what might have passed through these great painters' minds as they painted their masterpieces.