Decoding the Purity of an Icon 
  1. TORI
  3. LUCIA
  ​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​Decoding the Purity of an Icon 
Icons were traditionally images of religious figures made in most cases in the form of portraits of Virgins specifically for the use of veneration. It is unsettling now to think about how the religious culture constructed icons of strong women that were represented as an inspiration, but undermined with profound feminine prejudice at the same time.

We are used to seeing the Virgin image as an Icon of feminine strength, but we forget that the medieval narrative valued her fear of the fate imposed upon her as a young woman. These images are part of a cultural conversation about womanhood, which should be ongoing. By recognizing the complexities of historical images and their connotation, we could add our own voices to our contemporary cultural conversation.

The Webster's dictionary defines purity as “being free from or unmixed with any other matter”. Decoding the Purity of an Icon is a series of 18 acrylic-oil female portrait paintings on canvas thought to convey the message of recording an individual’s appearance and personality, using the tradition of Iconography for veneration of purity and spirituality beyond the representation of the feminine subject. Furthermore, these works will be approached in a contemporary manner employing realism and abstraction at the same time, making these portraits much more than pure representation.

Portraiture is a very old art form going back at least about 5,000 years, used to document the existence of someone. However, now I believe that it represents more than just a record. It should always be used to show the power, importance, virtue, strength, beauty, and contemporaneity of the individual portrayed, in this case women, as Icons of the purity of their own existence.

The purpose of these paintings is to find a way of make the most intimate feelings of a woman’s soul emerge and transfer them to the viewer while venerating the embedded beauty in their nature.

© 2017 Belinda Flores-Shinshillas.