Trite as Flesh

… a memorable phrase from a 1987 film I recently viewed titled I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing by Patricia Rozema
Koi #1
Acrylic, collage on cradled board
11″ x 14″
Private Collection

Sheila McCarthy plays Polly, a self effacing woman, who finds a job through a temp agency at Gabrielle’s art gallery.  Polly admires and secretly loves Gabrielle as she is everything that Polly is not; sophisticated, wordly, and savvy- especially in the art world where Polly is now privy to in a limited way.

Always with camera, Polly joyfully takes pictures of whatever and whoever she finds interesting or intriguing. Too insecure to call herself an artist,  she boldly makes a move, only to be hurt by Gabrielle- hence the title of this post.

The film is offbeat in a charming way, as well as thought provoking.  None of us aspire to be trite in our work. Quite the contrary.  But our work has a life of its own, regardless of labling or judgement. That in itself, has value.

Trite as Flesh- also sounds like a great assignment for art students.

What does Trite as Flesh look like to you?


  1. Tatiana Garmendia
    December 8, 2011

    I’m always so fascinated by how much passion (love or hate) art can inspire. Think of the contempt and aversion behind calling someone’s art trite. In the formal critiques we hold at the college I teach, we often find the same piece inspires negative criticism in one and ecstasy in another. Sometimes the appreciate student practically starts speaking in tongues. (Or maybe I’m just too out of date to get half of what they said).

    Appreciating the beauty of a koi elegantly flowing in water is a juicy experience, and this painting captures that. Nothing trite about beauty, oneness, or flow!

  2. Nanci Hersh
    December 11, 2011

    So true about critiques Tatiana- and like you, I have been on both sides of the table as student and professor.

    It is essential for us as artists to be able to be able to articulate our intentions, process and context, but as we both know, in the end, the work must speak for itself.

    Thank you for your comment and insight.


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