This charcoal drawing shows a nude woman reclining in a chair with an open book on her lap. A martini sits on a small table at her elbow, while a cigarette blows smoke from the right side of the frame, the smoker unseen. Food dishes and a small plant are laid out before the woman, with an air of being discarded or forgotten—yet somehow still belonging to the scene. The expression on the figure's face is neutral and inscrutable; it lacks even the feeling of ennui, instead suggesting an overwhelming blankness.
The artist frequently depicts women that don’t seem to fully engage in their activities. This woman isn't posing for a male viewer; instead, she seems to absent-mindedly take on performative gestures and acts that have entered the collective memory through art, fashion and pop culture. Her eyes drift off into space, seeking to escape her present setting.
Orchard's work plays with the formal elements of early 20th century modernist movements, such as cubism, fauvism or German expressionism. In her compositions, she embeds contemporary narratives into figurative painting history while raising questions about the representation of the female body.
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Danielle Orchard’s paintings and works on paper investigate contemporary representations of the female body. Her work depicts women who don’t seem to fully partake in their leisure activities, yet are not posing for any male gaze; instead, they absent-mindedly take on performative gestures that have entered the collective memory through art, fashion and pop culture. Orchard’s work embeds contemporary narratives into the history of figurative painting by playing with formal elements of modernist movements such as cubism, fauvism and German expressionism.