In Joan Semmel’s Echoing Images series (1979—81), she paints herself twice. Doubling her form, she renders her body in both a realistic and expressionistic style. Through this juxtaposition, Semmel constructs narratives about the self. As she writes, the two versions of her body “are almost like internal and external views of the self that combine a perceptual image with the ambition and striving of the emotive ego.”
In drawings related to this series, Semmel develops similar themes. Playing with scale, style, and medium, these works on paper contrast photographs with gestural, expressionist studies of Semmel’s nude body to suggest the multifaceted nature of the self.