Space Suit of the Week

William Immer takes classic portraits persons in social and political power and places them into contemporaneity, making for playful and rich oil paintings. He is associated with Aureus Contemporary and their statement on him explains: “Working with the idea that the history of art is often lost in the broad view of things, Immer started taking a closer look at how people view that history and what exactly they might be looking at. Starting with the language of the observed, he began to take the details into all sorts of visual direction.” Astro-Lady does just that. I honestly don’t know anything about seventeenth century portraiture or the source of inspiration to this piece, but my heart skipped a beat when I first saw it.

This piece reminds me of Kenn Brown and Cris Wren’s Blue Boy Re-Visioned (2004) that Alex wrote about last year. Their Cosmonaut rendition of Gainsbourough’s The Boy Boy (1770) was the cover piece of an anthology of short stories of how the world would be different if various technologies evolved and were successfully applied at an earlier time. Simliarily, Immer’s Astro-Lady could be a fitting cover.

Astro-Lady is shown in the classic astronaut pose in a white EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity, AKA space walk) suit and helmet resting by her forearm. Donned in her Elizabethan collar and bonnet, the colors of Holland are brandished across her arm. I enjoy that she’s wearing an EVA suit whose white color is intended to reflect the sun’s heat so the astronaut doesn’t get too warm. In my opinion, portraiture in the seventeenth century is cold and sterile: Astro-Lady is one intergalactic monarch that I wouldn’t mind paying homage to.

Found via Juxtapoz Magazine


November 4, 2011 / By