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Sleeping Girl with Birds

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Image of Sleeping Girl with Birds

Jody Mussoff
American, born 1952

Sleeping Girl with Birds


Object Type: Drawing
26 1/8 in. x 40 1/2 in. (66.36 cm x 102.87 cm)
Medium and Support: Colored pencil on paper
Accession Number: 2011.0006

Credit Line: Gift of the artist
Copyright: © Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Washington DC-based artist Jody Mussoff's images of women stem from her imagination; in fact they essentially function as self-portraits portraying various alter egos that Mussoff creates to "create a narrative that feels right and is important to me as I try to come to terms with living."(1) By building vivid color up through simple lines and a process of cross-hatching Mussoff adds a theatrical quality to her illustrative images of young girls and women. Adding to the surreal nature of her work and accompanying the women are dogs, birds and other animals that Mussoff often incorporates into her images. "Sleeping Girl with Birds," 1984 is, as the title implies, an image of a young woman with birds. It is an example of the disorientation that Mussoff cultivates throughout her body of work. Overall there is a serene quality to the sleeping woman, yet in her expression, there is some visible tension in the slight pursing of her lips and the worry lines forming between the bridge of her nose and forehead. Perhaps the woman is experiencing some fear or apprehension in her dream state. However, the situation is ambiguous; is it in fact a dream that the viewer is witnessing? Are the birds a figment of the woman's imagination, or has Mussoff rendered a waking state?

(1) Artist Statement,; accessed March 15, 2012.

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