Weekenders, a painting by Czech Republic artist Pavel Pangrac has proven to be controversial! When the painting received the emailed comment– “This is really offensive work! Outrageously sexist and disgusting,” I thought I’d like to analyze the work a little bit. Please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions in a comment.
My first thought, was that a reclining antique nude or the cliche of the scantily clad odalisque on a museum wall would hardly bring such a comment these days.
So what are the upsetting aspect of the paintings Weekenders? Do the women depicted in Pavel Pangrac’s painting represent a contemporary type of female image ubiquitous as trees in forest? Perhaps the painter is bombarded with unreal images of women via advertisements and media and his painting is social commentary? Perhaps it just hits a little too close to home to see aspects of ourselves depicted this way? Do we find the women–their stylized clothing and movements–set in contrast to the natural surroundings unsettling or disconcerting? Is the painting tell us to look beyond the superficial, to the real woman standing nude in distant background?
Does the strong response the painting Weekenders received indicate that there is a powerful message in the work that the viewer has reacted to? The artist, Pavel Pangrac, himself says that the work has many layers of meaning. He asks the vital questions, “Is there in painting – and I mean especially in depictive painting- only the purpose of imitating something real? Something that is easy, at first sight, understandable and easy to interpret?” All this begs the questions, should painters stay clear of controversial subjects and paint only what is considered comfortable for others to take in? Should artists craft their depictions with regard to what is politically correct? Or is it the artist’s duty to provide us with food for thought?