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Woman with Blue Bow
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© Jo Ann Callis
Gift of Gay Block

Jo Ann Callis
American, 1977
Chromogenic print
14 5/16 x 17 15/16 in.
2003.498.8

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My work is about interiors--psychological and physical. I create my own interior stage-set; a world in which I can control all the elements; a world that is magical, yet still rooted in the very practical reality of everyday life.
--Jo Ann Callis

Woman with Blue Bow, from Callis' first efforts in color compositions, presents a close-up of a young woman's tanned neck with the narrow blue ribbon of her lacy white party dress tied too tightly below her chin. In the wallpaper-pattern of a blue bamboo forest behind her, two yellow lovebirds flutter above her left shoulder and appear to be kissing with their small pointed beaks. By juxtaposing implied sensations, such as constriction and mobility (the ribbon and birds) and warm and cool (the colors of skin and foliage), Callis seems to sabotage traditional symbols.

This photograph and similar ones were made after Callis' first exposure to the work of Paul Outerbridge, when the contents of his estate came to light in Los Angeles. Outerbridge's not-quite-natural color photographs inspired Callis to use color for her own expressive images. The erotic, fabricated vein running through his commercial and personal work convinced her that she was on the right path.