The LaRae piece seems to elevate the woman by giving her power and confidence in a perilous position. The woman in red challenges the cliff's height and power.
The work is almost black-and-white: Gray and earth tones dominate the entire piece. The lighting even makes the woman's skin grayish, like an outcropping of the rock. But the red shirt serves to juxtapose her sharply and indicate that, despite her similar tone to the rock: She is of like matter but nonetheless distinct.
The position is perilous. The composition helps to give a sense of impending danger despite the still nature of the piece: To the left is a tall ridge and to the right middle there is a hole. The woman defiantly, and apparently triumphantly, seems to be sitting on a slip of rock as narrow as her body. Her red nipple and her red hair further connects her to her red shirt, further distinguishing her from the narrow precipice she is on.
Her visage is ambiguous. Is she in danger, unconscious, her eyes closed out of peril or fear? Or is she blasé in the face of danger, totally confident in her abilities?
The woman seems to defy the danger of the cliff. She is stable and not about to slip. She is abandoning herself to the danger and to the power of the cliff, one with the environment, unthreatened by it. Her red clothes are propped up against the downhill side, where the wind and the threat is, the risk of falling: Her simple shirt is sufficient to protect her, almost like an amulet.
The woman's body itself is seemingly frail, yet there is a hidden muscularity to her that represents her hidden and subtle strength almost granted by the land. There is an orgiastic, animistic, shamanistic overtone to the piece, the cliff itself almost a living organism. The composition itself helps with this. There is a vanishing point diagonally to the right: The eye is dragged down a tunnel being made, with the woman being the central feature of that tunnel. Leading the way to freedom.
© Robert WK Clark