Caroline Rust

Caroline Rust 
Trilogy for Cyndi; Cyndi in Her Looking Glass (Future), (2022)
Oil on silk slips circa 1920/30 on panel
30 x 24





The expressionistic paintings in this trilogy depart from the Crooked Line Straight series portraits of women from history and the Approaching the Dressing Table series of works inspired by the woman’s emotions she experiences as she gazes at herself in the looking glass. The route of all these works is the female’s search for a sense of self and identity at times of transition. This time however I wanted the work to be about a woman I know.


Cyndi is a former student of my late mother and someone who needed compassion through some challenging times in her life; regarding her mother’s illness and death, high school restlessness, and then raising her sons as a single parent. Mom, who she named Mama Suzie, provided Cyndi with unconditional support. Their bond was strong and extended to Cyndi’s two sons. In honoring Cyndi, my late mother is commemorated and their relationship.


In a personal photograph on social media, Cyndi referred to herself as “Perfectly Imperfection”. Captivated with the image and title, I asked her what those words mean to her. She responded calmly, “I have never been able to see myself as perfect, and that is life; there is always something imperfect but I am whole.” Cyndi’s presence of mind and knowing about who she is added fuel to the trilogy. Not only that, her life’s story is moving and has inspired my ongoing pursuit to create works revealing beautiful demonstrations of strength as vulnerability is overcome.


When considering the woman’s approach to her dressing table, on some occasions perhaps she has remembrances about her life, loved ones, or conjures past or future life fantasies – things at the depth of her being. Arriving at the mirror, what reflections might she see. She might see herself for who she is and state, “the future is now”.