Artwork / Swollen / Menopause

before and after portraits of woman going through menopause
Gwenn Seemel
Before and After: Menopause
2006 and 2007
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
30 x 54 inches (combined dimensions)

I found this participant for Swollen through this one from Private Masks, a story that the subject herself tells in this video. In a lot of ways, my portraits are bread crumbs making a trail through my life and always bringing me back to what matters in art: people. Art is always about connecting with others. The rest is meaningless.

What follows is the text originally displayed with Before and After: Menopause. It describes the earth change that I chose as an analogy for this woman’s transition.

The magnetic north pole is on the move, drifting over an ever-expanding territory. Because compasses track north based on this magnetically dictated point, compass-users are beginning to wander off course by a degree or two. For people set on human-imposed standards of measurement, this becomes an occasion for alarm. But the magnetic north pole and the magnetosphere which creates it do not exist to guide our compasses. The magnetosphere protects us from solar wind—a task it fulfills even as it fluctuates.

painterly portrait
detail image
painterly portrait
detail image