This Madonna and Child grew out of the many women I met in Nashville, Tn. who found themselves abandoned and impoverished. Later, in New Orleans, I was to meet more of these lost souls. This one I entitled “The Letter” because she had talked about the father of her child and how he had written her and promised many things that never came to pass.
She was actually quite pretty under the coating of accumulated grime, but I pictured her as I think she might have pictured herself. I painted this quite a few years later while I was in my studio in Sutter Creek, California. The memory had not grown dim, but in fact had sharpened to represent every-woman. The chaos in this world, so cheap to inject into lives, but so impossible to defend against, is ultimately the theme of this painting. It’s only been shown once in a gallery in Texas, and I must say that the attention it drew was more an indictment of the attitude the Texas culture than anything else.
Now, with most of the women’s clinic’s closed in many states, where is a young women to go to protect herself against this violation of her life. The child is now a symbol, not of future life and redemption, but of death. I never found out what happened to her or the child, but I suspect that desperation was the winner.