Cruised by artist Kim McCarty’s website today and saw a few new watercolors up. This fiery orange one immediately caught my eye. It strikes me as both reproachful and searing.
Back in January I had the privilege of interviewing McCarty for my thesis on Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele. When I first glimpsed her work, it seemed to me that her watercolor portraits were inspired by Schiele (and judging from the art reviews, I wasn’t alone in thinking so). Turns out, however, that wasn’t quite the case, at least not intentionally. Yet I find her focus on individual personality and vulnerability equally mesmerizing.
In this untitled figure above I like the over-the-shoulder gaze and the delicate tinting, but the treatment of the eyes and slightly furrowed brow really capture my focus. The indication of bags under the girl’s left eye reminds me of a particular Schiele portrait, which I’ve cropped and included below.
This solitary figure against a void likewise shows bags under her left eye as well as a wistfulness in the way she tilts her head and leans her cheek against her (unusually large) right hand. To me the puffiness seems to indicate that the girl is tired or has been crying, and overall the air is one of introspection and a bashful yet growing self-awareness. I like how both McCarty and Schiele have captured this attitude, which seems to emphasize more the inner life than the surface appearance of the subject.
(Top image: Kim McCarty)