Showing posts with label paintings of swimming pools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paintings of swimming pools. Show all posts

Drown The Dolls. Art Explores Women's Issues By Submerging Barbie Underwater.

Paintings and photographs of Mattel's iconic doll, Barbie, forcefully submerged underwater by artist Daena Title reflect her feeling of society's idealization of women, issues of body consciousness and the impossible, unattainable perfection that the blond, preternaturally endowed Barbie represents.

above: artist Daena Title in front of her painting, Big Doll.

In her series, “Drown the Dolls”, Title appropriates the iconic image of Barbie. With so many loaded connotations, she is the perfect muse. Inspired by childhood memories and adult hang-ups, viewers bring their own associations to the paintings. Title explains, “…[Barbie is a] 50 year old icon that women hate to love and love to hate…everyone seems to have their own Barbie story.” Each work in the series portrays Barbie fully submerged in water, seemingly drowning while maintaining her trademark composure. She is either floating alone or wholly dunked by a smiling young girl on the brink of pubescence; still a game, not meant to harm, but not entirely without malice.

Big Doll:

The images capture that most influential window in a girl’s life, not a little girl but not yet a woman and warily aware of the uncertainty of her own body and her future standing in the world. Barbie is an object that projects perfection – for some it is a beauty to aspire to, for others a beauty unreachable. Title approaches her canvas with formal compositions of refraction and reflection which mirror the way women have seen themselves reflected, for better or worse, in Barbie’s image: her constant smile, implausible waistline, her over-blonde hair. “The paintings literally shove her in our faces, the same way society shoves this ideal at us,” Title states.



Stockholm Syndrome:

Dirty Fighter:

Pool Witch:

Stage Five - Mourning:


Dark Friends:

Sweater Doll:

Stop Worrying About The Wrong Thing:

Faith, Hope, Charity and Silicone:

She Said No:

Beneath The Surface:

Madonna Of The Dolls:

Gulliver Girl:


Serenity Now and Fractured:

A figurative painter with an ongoing interest in women’s issues and contemporary social dynamics, Title’s series, “Drown the Dolls,” continues her long time exploration of concerns dealing with female body consciousness and girlhood, as well as present day ideals of physical perfection. Title’s fascination with feminist themes began while she was a high school student, coming of age at the dawn of the feminist movement. A drastic shift in her ideals would happen in her formative early high school years – literally one year a cheerleader, the next year a feminist. As an adult Title’s interest in larger social and global issues have dovetailed with her constant examination of women’s roles and representations in society to expand her creative voice. While still deeply rooted in the most basic questions of female identity, Title’s work invites deeper socio-political associations as well. For example, “Drown the Dolls,” carries on a theme of drowning that first appeared in Title’s work soon after 911. The dolls are a stand-in for a contemporary society loosing its footing, being adrift, and in some ways gasping for air.

Photos/Archival Prints
Please note that some of the following photographs have been slightly cropped to eliminate a watermark that detracted from the work.

Kryptonite Barbie:




Happy Bride:


Bridal Birth:

Circle of Friends:

Shiny (cropped):

Silver Legs (cropped):

Images from her 2011 exhibit at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery allow you to see the scale of the paintings and photos:

Daena Title was born in Manhattan in 1957 and was raised in Long Island, New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and in Theatre Studies from Wellesley College in 1979, and lived in Manhattan until 1991. Title currently resides in Los Angeles and has shown her work in gallery and museum spaces since 1998, including recent group exhibitions at the Torrance Art Museum and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. She has received critical praise for past solo exhibitions from the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly, among other publications. Title’s artwork resides in a number of prominent private collections.
information and many of the images courtesy of the artist and Koplin Del Rio Gallery

Daena Title

A special thank you to Scott Rench who knew, given my fascination with swimming pools and Barbie dolls that I was going to find this work fascinating.

Recent Realism Paintings Of Fabricated American Landscapes By Alex Roulette.

above: Alex Roulette, Airborne, Oil on Panel, 26"x 37", 2010

I first noticed Alex Roulette's impressive realism with his 2008 painting, Summer (shown below), which caught my eye because I have a thing for pool paintings.

above: Summer, Oil on Panel, 36"x48", 2008

This past year, Alex had a solo exhibition called Fabricated Realism at the George Billis Gallery in New York in which the 2010 paintings in this post were shown. His work continues to have great aesthetic appeal and in 2010, Alex played more with unusual light sources and effects in his work. Sun flares, reflections, snowflakes and other natural and fabricated lighting replaces the strong shadows prevalent in his 2007-2008 work.

At Swim, Oil on Panel, 28"x 42", 2010:

At the Lake, Oil on Panel, 20"x 21", 2010

Badlands, Oil on Panel, 30"x 38", 2010:

Chopping Wood, Oil on Panel, 24"x 34", 2010:

Jump, Oil on Panel, 24"x 38", 2010:

Swing Set, Oil on Panel, 15"x 15", 2010:

Parking Lot, Oil on Panel, 20"x 21":

Windmill, Oil on Panel, 30"x 44", 2010:

Unknown Lights, Oil on Panel, 45"x 36", 2010:

The above paintings are represented by George Billis Gallery, New York

The artists statement about his recent work: "Fabricated Realism"

My current series of paintings depict fabricated American landscapes. The invented landscapes arise from archetypal citations of past and present cultural influences. Placing figures into these landscapes is an attempt to take advantage of the viewer’s natural ability to extrapolate narratives. By creating the paintings using a conjuncture of various photographic references, I continue to explore the distinctions between photographic and painted space. The disjointed nature of the source images, contrasting with the way they are realistically unified, take on a contingent sense of reality.

Inventing landscapes allow memories of places and events to be fictionalized. Coalescing unrelated photographs is done in a way comparable to the process in which the mind synthesizes images when recollecting memories or imagining new images. As opposed to culling images from an abstract memory bank, I utilized tangible sources, many of which come from the vast image resources our contemporary culture offers. The current expanding abundance of accessible images is allowing the imagination to expand the ability to visualize unseen places.


Born in 1986, in Columbus, Ohio, Alex Roulette now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. To see his fabulous work from 2009 and before, visit his website

Artists Take The Plunge: Swimming Pool As Subject

I got such a wonderful response to my post about varying artists' freeway and overpass paintings, that I thought I'd do the same with one of my other favorite subjects; the swimming pool.

Years ago, I bought one of my favorite paintings, an empty swimming pool painted by Christy Botkin Reeves of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, a nasty subletter stole the painting upon being evicted from my if you see it, let me know (seriously...).

Perhaps it's the stillness of pools when no one is in them, or the beckoning of an empty pool, that appeals to me. But either way, I'm clearly not the only one who finds beauty in them.

Above: My now stolen pool painting by Christy Botkin Reeves, 48" x 72"

When it came time to replace it, I was craving one of Glenn Ness' photo realism pool paintings, but couldn't afford an original the size I wanted.

Here are a few of his that I've coveted:

Above: Glenn Ness' Should I have Stayed?

Above: After The Lie, 12" x 18", Glenn Ness

Above: A Mysterious Childhood by Glenn Ness

Above: Fading Of June by Glenn Ness

Above: Maintenance by Glenn Ness

Upon realizing I'd never have the huge Glenn Ness original of my dreams, nor would I get my Christy Botkin Reeves' back, I actually began looking for pool paintings. This became a labor of love, not to mention enlightening.

Anyone familiar with David Hockney is aware of his fabulous pool paintings and images of pools done with paper pulp and printed as monotypes. For those who aren't, let me show you:

Above: David Hockney's "A Bigger Splash"

Above: David Hockney's "Pool With 2 Figures"

Above: Hockney's painting "Peter getting out of of Nick Wilder's Pool"

As I said, he not only painted pools, he used paper pulp to create monotypes of pools, now very collectible. The one below went for over $5,000 at Sotheby's in 2000 and would easily fetch over double that now:

Well, by now I was hung up on the photo realism thing after Glenn Ness, so this led me to find several contemporary realists who knew their way around a pool, so to speak.

There were so many talented artists who paint pools.
Empty Pools.
Still pools.
Pools at Night.

I'm going to break this article into three posts.
Today's is just paintings of POOLS, next week will be paintings of PEOPLE SWIMMING IN POOLS, so be sure to come back.

Johannes Schramm and his photo-realistic pools:


And one of my other absolute most coveted artists, Patricia Chidlaw:

Above: Whites Motel

Above: Still Pool

Above: Pool and Birds of Paradise

Above: Patricia Chidlaw's White Chairs

I've always been a fan of Rick Monzon's work and was happy to see that he, too, painted a pool!

Above: Rick Monzon's Florida Pool

Above is Cindy Stapper's Vernal Invitation

Above: Sharilyn Neidhardt's Lazy pool

Above: James P. Kimack's Pool

Above: My Houses (Pool with Waterfalls) by Julia Jacquette
available here from Pace Prints.
Below: Jane Freilicher's The Pool:

Available at the Tibor De Nagy Gallery
For today, I will leave you with another one of Glenn Ness's works and be sure to see the upcoming post about swimming in pools, it's almost twice as long!

Above: ... finally, Glen Ness' Long Thoughts

Be sure to see the amazing pool paintings in the following posts:

Part II: Paintings of People Swimming

Part III: More People Swimming Paintings

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