Portrait of a Young Lady - Michelle Nixon

Michelle Nixon
Hyde Park, UT

This painting takes the direction of Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady. In the book every time the protagonist makes a decision to compromise her own independence and free spirit, instead of narrating through the results of her decision, James just ceases to write and jumps forward in the story. It is as if he is writing about this interesting and vivacious young woman, and then because she makes certain decisions based on expectations, she becomes less interesting—not even enough to write about. This is a portrait of a young lady. This is before the coming-of-age has occurred. This is a little girl who is growing up, who has the weight of conformity and societal expectations intangibly shadowing her, but also the potential for independence. Instead of a naivety, her expression is pensive and weighty—the innocence of her still rounded cheeks juxtaposed with her demeanor.
H 14 1/2'' X W 21 1/2''

Michelle Nixon, 2022