Love Is A Four Letter Word
Oil on Canvas
24.5 x 36 Inches
The formal qualities describe the nature of difficulty in a relationship. Partners often question what is real, or what is right. The composition also shows a reversal of the traditional treatments of gender in Western art. Instead of the woman’s body on display, it is the man’s. The inclusion of a pig’s head evokes similar imagery from Lord of the Flies, expressing a criticism of primitivism. The apple symbolizes a loss of innocence.
Symbols of gender dominance are also juxtaposed: while man may be in a submissive position, he is holding a white lily (the woman’s virginity). The woman is holding grapes in her hand, emasculating the man.
The table is laden with Chinese food, some phallic in form. To Eastern people, dining together represents not only intimacy but family bond. However, the nakedness of the body on the table turns that idea on its head by appearing uncomfortable, almost perverse.