Photo Credit: abstract-art.com
“Death has kind of a negative connotation,” artist Jay DeFeo once said when speaking of her life’s major work, The Rose. She wanted the piece to represent the “unity” of life and death, not merely death. Completed over an eight-year period, from 1958 to 1966, the painting is composed of nearly two thousand pounds of paint. It once hung in the bay window of her studio, where only light from the side windows could enter.
The massive work of art, known as DeFeo’s masterpiece, was her main focus for the majority of the 1960s. She turned down offers for solo exhibitions and many other opportunities so that she could concentrate on The Rose. Her painstaking effort is obvious, and the painting has continued to be exhibited since 1969 (except for periods of conservation).
DeFeo was diagnosed with cancer in 1988, but despite this obstacle she worked prolifically until her death. And I think she achieved her goal of bringing together the opposing ideas of life and death; although she passed away in 1989, her work is immortal. It remains relevant to this day, impressing scholars and art lovers alike with its diversity.