I have always been attracted to paintings that appear somewhat incomplete. There’s one image, I think maybe by Seraphine Pick that stays with me. Different from most of her work, it is simply gouache and pencil and I love the unfinished look. Granted, it is probably just a study that got put into a book, and not a piece she would necessarily exhibit or sell. But the unfinished painting will always interest me. So much is suggestive, and there is a beautiful simplicity. It amazes me how much can be said in such few lines or strokes. Some pieces can be so over worked or have so much detail and yet they fail to convey anything spectacular. Sure, they show a scene, or a person, but within that there is often no essence.
This image, by Agnes-cecile, reminded me of that kind of unfinished art, and I love it. To me, the way the man is gripping the woman has an ambiguous nature. My first impression was that he was an aggressor, and it was a nice portrayal of the way in which men try to control women. The artist’s statement would be that this is an outdated and sad concept, demonstrated through the smudging out / un-finishing of the man. Like he (man) is losing his grip on her (woman). But then on further study I can also see him as a desperate lover that is trying to keep his partner from leaving him. I can see a kind of sadness in him, that his possession of her comes from love and fear of loneliness. Like the parts of him touching her are complete, but the parts further away from her are falling apart – that he needs her to be whole.
It would be interesting to hear what the original intent of the image was. Either way, the woman looks somewhat fearful, whilst remaining calm and strong which I like.
But I really do love the style of painting, especially the way the male figure has been portrayed. It would certainly lose the depth and complexity if the ‘unfinished’ bits had been completed to the standard of the woman’s face etc. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.