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Patch and Pearl

Accession Date:
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oil on canvas
80 x 50 in. (203.2 x 127 cm)

About This Artwork

In Patch and Pearl, John Currin portrays two apparently pregnant women who are almost alien in their forms: lean on top and extremely fecund below the waist. Standing on a rooftop, the two women look out hopefully, as if awaiting the return — from war perhaps — of the fathers of their unborn children. The homegrown American optimism on their faces rivals that in a Norman Rockwell painting, yet the distended bellies of the women tell a different story: this is not exactly a return to peaceful times and conventional family values. Pearl carries her baby like a growth; it is lumpy and sagging. Patch may be wearing her pants backward; strange things have happened since the men have been away. With the rooflines bisecting the canvas twice, even the composition is unsettling. The bizarre and the banal go hand in hand in this town, and the effect to an outsider is disquieting.