See Maria's painting 'Alone Together' featured on the ABC TV show The Catch, starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause



Alone Together

about the painting :

This work captures a unique moment in an erotic relationship—the profound ambivalence that comes with romantic love. The woman is both pulling her lover in, and looking away at the same time. She is neither happy nor sad, suspended in that liminal state. The male is far less complex, content to bury his head in her neck, symbolically admitting his desire to know only this moment, while the woman looks into the past and the future, both holding on and letting go. 

The woman, as artist, must also be prepared to embrace the viewer’s gaze as romantic gesture, however keeping in mind the unforeseen future of that relationship. In my work , I also seek to embrace these dualities, to capture the moments in-between. I’m depicting an older, more classical version, of romantic love. Yet at the same time, here in this painting, and in my own life, that romantic love must accommodate fear and uncertainly. Paying homage to classical form, this work throws in relief the modern conceptions of female ambivalence: as she pulls him in, she pulls away, and her facial complexity —accommodating uncertainty, fear, and doubt — is deeply contemporary. She is in control, yet frightened.  

Painted with Caravaggio and the Baroque school in mind, the light and shadow are defined with clarity, and the characters look like real people— beautiful, but unidealized. The jarring quality of the arm’s placement breaks with classical composition. It allows the male to be the center of the painting, yet completely anonymous. His placement reminds us of a sleeping satyr, as the woman remains alert to present danger. He is both being held gently, and being gripped. Her arm almost seems to be holing up the head of Samson; And her white hand, like a signifier of death, points to the other side of romantic love, to the sadness of completion. He becomes every man, and she every woman. And through that unique romantic moment, we can see this dynamic of ambivalence and duality present in us all and in all interactions— we want, let go, take, and pull away, together, yet isolated.