Beauty Everywhere

Claudia Bicen shows the deep beauty of age, of impermanence. I’ve always had a deep and abiding love for Vanitas work, but I think there’s a tendency to show humans in vanitas only as skulls, or what detritus they may have left behind. Perhaps it’s in self defense that we skim over aging, in every day life as well as art. As an aging person, I’m all for seeing the beautiful in age, rather than looking away or being engaged in a desperate fight to fob it off. Bicen’s work is exquisite, go have a look.

Tat tvam asi - Pastel on wood block 12" x 12" - © Claudia Biçen 2013 Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD) Editor's Award - Portrait Competition 2013 -

Tat tvam asi – Pastel on wood block 12″ x 12″ – © Claudia Biçen 2013
Gauntlet Gallery, Visions & Reflections Group Exhibition (SOLD)
Editor’s Award – Portrait Competition 2013 –


  1. says


    There are no wrinkles but there are character lines.

    All things considered, I prefer Ice Swimmer’s skin grain. While a person’s general temperament and character shapes wrinkles to a degree, it doesn’t shape them all, so I think looking at wrinkles that way can give a wrong impression. A little too much like “judging a book by its cover”.

    I really dislike the stigma of wrinkles, the idea that they must be fought at any and all cost, at least if you’re a woman. Men get more of the character/distinguished/rugged business. Women get old/lemon/ugly. It wasn’t long ago that I learned about the 1664 business, and that I fell into that category, although the person telling me thought they were being nice by pointing out I didn’t actually look 64, but much younger than that, like late 40s or early 50s. (1664: from the back, looks 16, from the front, 64.) I took it for what it was, and since I’m damn close to 60, consigned the whole thing to a shrug. That said, it was just another reminder of how much age is looked down on, when it’s noticed at all.

  2. says

    The really nasty thing about the 1664 business is that it puts women, no matter their age, squarely in the target of the male gaze, and that it’s terrible, because it results in disappointed boners. There’s a sense of resentment with it, too, as in “how dare you look viable from the back!” Nothing like being objectified forever on end.

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