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S.W. Hayter

        I have met people who say they cannot draw. I do not believe them. In my experience everyone has his own hand, his own drawing, more natural than the arbitrary formation of letters in writing. One sees Claire Weissman Wilks never doubted that she could draw - she just drew - but clearly something goes before drawing, to wit - seeing. An ‘artist’ is one who looks longer and with greater intensity than the harassed citizen, and Claire Weissman Wilks has had a hard look at her subject, and furthermore, and the question of drawing itself. Not only how, but why?


    Her subject is nudes, women and men, alone and together, and women with child. They are human as pornography is inhuman. Literal they may be called, but this is not reporting, although clearly more faithful to our experience than photography (which is of interest chiefly because it is an arbitrary structure beyond visual experience.) We find a philosophy embodied in these apparently circumstantial records, a commentary on actual sexual relations that is remote from pornography - which refers only to masturbation.


    Kinsey once remarked in my hearing that nine-tenths of the world’s literature is about sex and three quarters of this is factually incorrect, and a critic once said that almost all female nudes, in painting or photography, seem hopelessly selfconscious - as if saying: Look, no clothes. But Claire Weissman’s people (we believe we know them) are not only there doing what they do but they appear quite unaware of being observed, or rather, they do not seem to care weather they are observed or not. They are quite clearly deeply involved with one another, and concomitantly, with themselves.


    Figuratively, they could not seem more real, yet they exist in an undefined space (not a line suggests a floor, a bed, a field) - in a time-place entirely abstract. Why do we speak as if we were the people concerned? Evidently, we have unconsciously identified with the models - not with the images, not with what people call abstractions - but people, ourselves.


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