Woman in Blouse
Watercolor and pen on paper.
23″ x 30″
Inez Nathaniel Walker
Walker started to draw in prison to protect herself, she said, from “all those bad girls” with her in the correctional facility. She was incarcerated for the “criminally negligent homicide” of a male acquaintance who had abused her. She is famous for drawing striking images of women. Walker’s characterizations of “bad girls” stare straight at the viewer regardless of the position of their heads. Concentrating on the eyes, hairstyles, and clothing, the subjects are dressed and sit stiffly, often in front of geometrically-patterned backgrounds that perhaps represent wallpaper, or may simply be intended as geometric abstractions. Many of her images show only head and shoulders. When the figures are shown full length, they stand on tiny, delicate feet; their bodies are usually foreshortened, and their skin tones range in color from bright red to dull brown.
Although an occasional male might make an appearance in her work, her portraits of women have earned Walker her reputation as one of the important artists of the 20th century.