Label Text: Against a solid black ground, the undulating line of the model’s back and shoulders dips and curves as a sensuous abstraction. The body’s inherent symmetry is disrupted by one bent arm. Vitality flows through the arc of the right arm, from the muscular shoulder to the firmly planted fist. If symmetrical, this pose would embody potential energy, a taut body coiled over toes and poised for upward movement. However, the left hand covers the head in a defensive gesture, so the coiled posture of strength simultaneously recalls a protective fetal position. The model shields his bowed head and torso, perching in careful balance on the slightest footprint.
Mapplethorpe’s photographs reveal insights beyond appreciation of the human form’s abstract beauty. Thomas communicates both strength and vulnerability, expressing the complexities and contradictions contained in each of us.