Self Portrait (Front Window)
Oil on canvas
canvas: 46 x 30 in. ( 116.8 x 76.2 cm ) frame: 47 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 2 in. ( 120.6 x 80 x 5.1 cm )
Approximately 1/3 of the background is an orange wall, the interior of McKenzie's studio, while the balance is a window view looking south over Manhattan to the Twin Towers. The artist has depicted herself in a fully frontal position, wearing a blue boat-necked dress. Through the window can be seen in the near foreground a yellow building, behind which is a brown one and then a red brick one and several white spires and buildings.
Mary Beth McKenzie's self-portrait suggests a complex mixture of personal strengths, frailties, and emotions. Her self-portraits, as well as her portrayals of friends and relatives in figural works, are intended not as accurate renderings, but rather as psychological probes into individuals searching for inner understanding. By including the view of New York City seen from her studio window in the self-portrait shown here, McKenzie alludes to another aspect of her career -- canvases focused on older areas of New York City. In those paintings she draws the viewer's eye to details of architecture and the effect of light on old brick and old, often deserted streets. As a teacher at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, McKenzie often assigns self-portraits to her students, encouraging them to experience looking, artistically and psychologically, into one-self.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.