Mary Ann is a pastel and charcoal on paper work created by the American painter and printmaker R.B. Kitaj in 1980. The piece depicts a woman smoking, rendered in Kitaj’s signature figurative style with exaggerated and pliable human forms. In Mary Ann, Kitaj merges the collage techniques of Pop Art with the agitated brushstrokes of Abstract Expressionism.
The work is held in a private collection in London, and it exemplifies Kitaj’s tendency to assume a detached outsider point of view, which places him in conflict with dominant historical narratives. This disoriented perspective is reflected both in his use of distorted figures and his unconventional compositions that often feature jarring, unexpected juxtapositions.
Kitaj was known for his expressive use of color and line as well as his engagement with cultural history, particularly Jewish culture. His works frequently reference literature, art history, and popular culture while subverting traditional structures through unexpected or ambiguous imagery.
In sum, Mary Ann showcases R.B. Kitaj’s distinctive style that blends artistic movements from different eras into warp figurative composites that belies tales of tension between contemporary ideas of representation while referencing notable historical events to underscore societal change marking this artist as one who leaves an indelible mark on modern art history.