The Three Ladies consists of three large scaled mixed media drawings. The women are despondent and each are named appropriately, Disheartened, Discouraged and Dispirited. Each large panel portrays a female figure in a swimsuit. The location in time and space is not known by the women or the viewer.
The building's history was a major influence for this work. The building was once Fairmount Presbyterian Church. The congregation aged out in the 1950s, and then the building became the art center it is today. The knowledge of a congregation aging out nagged at me. I knew of church bodies growing out of a facility, but not one that had closed. The fact that people no longer wanted to be part of the Gospel was saddening. I wondered if the congregation relocated and what happened to their descendants. The building once offered a place of sanctuary for the sinful, Sunday School classes for children, then no longer. I took this idea of aging out and applied the concept to my own body and my own faith. I am the model and the muse for these drawings. The drawings were also influenced by Lucas Cranach the Elder's Three Graces and Botticelli's Three Graces of the Primavera.
The three women stand in 1950s style swimsuits modeling their outfits in an old church. They are a bit too fat to be lazily standing about in swimwear. As if transported from a dressing room to the panel. Their location is not the beach or a hotel pool. The women do not have sunglasses, sunscreen or a drink. They are to be viewed. They are purposely created to be on display. But, for whom? They are not the graven images of the icon, nor the pin up girls of the 1950s. These women are somewhere between the virgin and the old hag. Author Edwin Mullins in his book, The Painted Witch states, "the good woman can be classified in declining order of excellence, the four-star virgin, the three-star wife, the two-star deflowered martyr and then finally the repentant wanton." Therefore, a woman’s value is based on society's view in that place and time. These women do not fit into the categories above. They are purely three women.
The central centered figure is the only woman who looks out to the viewer. One looks to her sister with sadness, the other appears to be judging the two. Dispirited's eyebrows are lowered and her gaze is focused completely outside the picture plane. The women have large breasts, round and full of life. The palette of black, white and gray reinforce the solitude. These women stand awkwardly, childless in their own confinement, embedded into the panel. They cannot move, but are eternally stuck in their isolation. Circles and spheres float about, some seem to move in and out of the middle ground, but the women are completely adhered. Their bellies are flat, one with the panel. No life exists in these bodies only regret and dismay.
M. V. Moran earned her MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Moran has a BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. After several years of working at the UO in Student Services, she resigned from her position and began her dream of becoming a professional artist. She exhibits extensively and has been invited to show new work at the Coos Art Museum in 2020. Moran is an Adjunct Professor of Art at NCU in Eugene, Oregon and a Lane Arts Council Artist-in-Residence.