The title of this artwork is the self portrait along the Boarded line between Mexico and the United States and it was created in 1932.
Looking at the artwork I can see a woman with a pink dress and white gloves at the middle of the painting. Suggesting by the title of this art work this elegant woman must be Frida Kahlo. We can identify that on her right side she has the country of Mexico and on the other side she has America. As Mexico and the United States are close countries this is probably representing the boarder between those two countries, and probably Frida would have passed the boarders at one time in her life. From my first impressions I can identify the different elements that she decided to compose into her painting in order to represent the two countries that she has put. By the type of things that she chose to put in her art piece it also reveals what her emotions are whenever she thinks about those things.
This art piece also is included in the tradition of surrealism. It is could be included as a portrait painting which is illustrated in a landscape format.
The original painting of this was in a small tin and she used oil paint. This process is a traditional way of painting in Mexico which is named Retablos. Through their creation they are used as a way of commemoration or to thank their liberation in a period of crisis. However, Frida Kahlo didn’t used this type of painting for the purposes that it intended but she used it to create a dramatic effect.
Thin and fine brushstrokes can be seen on this painting in some parts of it. To create a better combination of the darker and lighter colors as well as having a better control of the color.
The two big contrasting elements that I can clearly see is the industries and unfriendly looking environment that she has created in the United states placed on the right, and on contrast the earthy warm colors of peace and a more amicable environment on Mexico’s left side. In the left background, there is the pre-Columbian temple which makes a big part of Mexico’s history. It seems like Frida Kahlo is looking back at the roots of her ancestors and is remembering her past. Also in the far background on the left upper corner, we can see a sun and a moon which are both surrounded by clouds. This symbolizes the concept of Aztec’s duality, where they contrasted different concepts in the world, such as night and day, males and females and life and death. At the middle ground on the left side of the painting we can see a skull which has fallen on the ground. Frida Kahlo often placed a skull in her paintings representing that death will always occur and it is part of the life cycle. As she was also going through hard times in her life and escaped from death she has made that part of her life. Furthermore, a fertility doll is positioned next to the skull creating this contrast again of opposites, life and death. In the foreground of the side of Mexico, we can see natural flowers with strong roots, representing the nature’s surroundings that exist in Mexico rather than in the United States. On the other side of the art work, we can see machines, and smoke coming out of industries, showing the industrialization that exists in America. In contrast with the flowers that we see in the side of Mexico, on this side we can see rather than roots, electrical cords and those roots grew into other electrical machines. Showing that machines are considered more important than plants and the earth therefore in the US they replace them with electrical devices. Lastly, we can see Frida’s self portrait to be standing on the boarder line of Mexico and of the United States making her remember her double nationality and heritage. Another symbol that is shown in this painting is the Mexican flag that she is holding while her hands are crossed and this shows the loyalty that she holds for this country.
Space and time is demonstrated in this painting as it shows the memories that Frida has in her mind whenever she thinks about Mexico and how she misses her country. Through her painting she also shows the cycle of life and that death will always exist and be a part of the life cycle.
At the time when Frida Kahlo did this painting, she has a miscarriage that affected her a lot and she was staying at the Henry Ford hospital. As she was there alone she felt isolated from the real world. Through this painting she was able to express how she felt about being stuck in the middle and in an unknown world away from the country which she was raised in. She referred to the painter of this painting as Carmen Rivera and that could be for several reasons. However a strong reasoning to this would be that Frida Kahlo was a German name and she wanted to give an emphasis to her Mexican roots while being in the US.
Most of the shapes in her painting are natural, seem realistic and nothing unusual is demonstrated in this art piece. The colors that are shown are mostly earthy and warm colors as well as cool colors when it comes to showing the contrast between the two countries. The composition of the self portrait painting is the rule of thirds. Some shading can be seen in this painting making several drawings three dimensional and the colors are nicely blended together. The mood of it is reflective towards the patriotic side that Frida caries.