Best known for her portraits in watercolor, Dumas here employs a richly toned palette of oil paint, punctuating the female subject's white skin with a deep red nipple and slashes of blue and black at the eye and lips. One of a series of emotive portraits of laid-out corpses, the woman's head is taken from a still from the 1970 film Fly, by Yoko Ono, which follows houseflies as they explore the naked body of an actress. Dumas, who aims "to portray people in all their complexity and never [as a] completely definable entity," has succeeded in rendering an image of provocative ambiguity through her use of color, cropping, and foreshortening.
Gallery label from What is Painting? Contemporary Art from the Collection, July 7–September 17, 2007 .