Girl with a Mink Pelt
Oil on canvas, 2004
64 x 28 in. (162.6 x 71.1 cm)
Collection of the artist
“Persons with any weight of character carry, like planets, their atmospheres with them in their orbits.”
Thomas Hardy, The Return of The Native.
Zoe, a daughter of friends, had just turned 13 and was in the midst of changing from girl to woman. I wanted to paint about that transformation which, in her, was so clear, so visible. I photographed her in many different poses, most of which pushed her to one side of the line or the other. I also asked her to hold various objects that were in my studio. One was a mink pelt, a road kill that I had found and taken to a taxidermist to be preserved. She held it like a stuffed animal, but it was empty, useless for a child, and even a little threatening. It clarified the ambivalence I saw in the weight of her character.