A New Figuration:
Narrative Painting and Drawing Over the Decades

1980 - 2000


Figuration was a major thrust of my work from 1987-2000. This large body of paintings and drawings reflected a commitment to an expression of contemporary perspectives through a re-visitation of centuries-old representation of the human form. This focus traversed six major groups of creative output.

Below are images representing each of these groups of work. It's a large body of work, so please check back for additional postings.

Note: each image will link to an entire series, larger images and/or details.



 AMY. oil on linen.
                  80''x44". 1999

A series of nearly life-size paintings; all six participants were members of our local community.

This extended project was funded by a generous Vermont Arts Council grant in 1998-99. The entire group was part of my 2001 solo exhibition at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT.



1994 - 1995

  JANE EMBORSKY - Women of Perry.

The Women of Perry: Portraits From Life project was a series of portraits - all participants living in the Village of Perry, New York - funded by two generous New York State Arts Council grants in 1993-95.


1991- 1993

Interiors, both inhabited and not, have figured large in the narrative of my representational painting and drawings.
In this LESSONS series of oil on linen paintings done from 1991-1993, the drama-filled space uses inanimate objects and imagistic quotes that stand in for the figure and create a narrative that lectures or declaims. The subject matter? The power and oppression of women throughout history as expressed in art.


1990 -1991




1988 - 1990

SEATED MALE (OSCAR). 24x36. oil on linen. 1990
My Studies in Androgyny works were a large body of paintings, drawings, intaglio prints and monotypes done in 1988-1990 while a Research Fellow at the University at Buffalo.

The work, using a traditional genre of painting, engaged and challenged the viewer to step outside typical gender paradigms as expressed through representation of the human figure.


1987 - 1988

A large series of narrative graphite drawings exploring the play of gender, psychology and desire as represented within interior spaces.

All were drawn from life without use of photography, although the caught frozen moment was certainly informed by the camera.



Along with painterly, graphic and other formal concerns, these paintings, drawings and prints responded to an impulse to probe, comprehend and represent individual personalities and stories. Aded to this was, of course, the expression of my own interpretive eye and voice.

These figurative works were informed by an analysis of male/female pose and the interplay of gaze by viewer, model, and artist. While artists have often  visited this dynamic, my perspective was informed by dialogs of the moment.  My figurative works combined a re-appropriation of historical visual languages and literary constructs with a grappling of complex issues of commonality and difference.

I was not alone in the exploration of a New Figuration. Speaking and writing on the topic, participating in professional conferences and chairing panel discussions, engaging with other women artists who were painting the figure from fresh perspectives all led me to a broad appreciation of the new life being breathed into this very traditional genre

Parallel with my visual figurative work, several monographs and comparative papers were written in 1988 - 1990 on topics related to androgyny in visual art and literature as well as focusing on historical analyses. A re-reading of the papers has begun and is proving an intriguing exercise. These papers will be posted as they are transcribed into digital format:

Studies in Androgyny: The Works of Kollwitz, Caravaggio and Mapplethorpe (DOWNLOAD HERE)

Studies in Androgyny: Examining "Jane Eyre: "Consuelo" and the Images of Kollwitz


Caravaggio: The Sources and Significance of His Naturalism


Rembrandt - Caravaggio Links: An Exploration of the Sources of Rembrandt's Biblical Commoners


Robert Henri: The Formative Years


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