Spanish Dancers at Harvey Nichols
Alkyd and Watercolour on 300 lb Paper,
Available through a commercial art gallery: inquire
Many key elements of Ken Tolmies Window Series are evident in this painting. Mannequins replace human figures, highlighting the arbitrary signs (hair, clothing, gesture) by which our society constructs gender. The flat picture plane corresponds to the flat window pane, making the urban shop window a metaphor for post-Cubist ways of perception (combining multiple perspectives on an object into a flat plane). A single figure is portrayed multiply, a device that Tolmie has employed throughout his career (see for example Gus the Acadian: Portrait of Gus Belliveau) Like Clocks: Window on Queen Street and The Ice Queen: Study, Spanish Dancers at Harvey Nichols began as a watercolour. Finding that watercolours could not produce the effect of hot department-store lighting that he was looking for, the artist switched to oils. This painting thus exhibits the tendency toward brighter, more intense colour and heightened drama that is characteristic of the most recent Window Series works.