Although its earliest phases have been associated with the Pop Art movement, the work of Segal actually falls within a humanist tradition. His casts of people in everyday environments are intended as a moving commentary on the alienation experienced by human beings. In the early 1980s, Segal dropped colour and realist props from his compositions and began to paint his backgrounds black. "I am looking a lot at Rembrandt, I am looking at Old Master paintings that are really a flat canvas that magically has been painted to resemble a three-dimensional sculpture. And I am trying the reverse. I am making a three-dimensional sculpture to see what happens if I can indicate some of those strange lights and darks that are purely imaginative." First exhibited in 1993 at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York, this work presents itself simultaneously as a realist scene and as an allegory. Seated in harsh light in a world completely black, her slightly bent back turned towards the viewer, this women is shown at a mundane moment of the day - in her extreme exhaustion, she embodies the weariness of the world.
© The George and Helen Segal Foundation / SODRAC, Montréal / VAGA, New York (2021)