A friendly knock at the kitchen door interrupts a quiet moment of reflection. In the days of vintage nostalgia, friends are welcome anytime.
Is it the same today? After all, though we call ourselves “modern” now, at the time period of the artwork, Midday Tea, people considered themselves “modern” as well. In a way, the word is meaningless, since it simply means contemporary to the time we are living now.
(Chronocentrism is the word – the very human tendency to believe that the only time worth paying attention to is now, and anything even 10 years in the past is out of date and of little meaning.)
Midday Tea invites us back a few years, to a time we now see as vintage, nostalgic, hearkening back to a simpler time and age. “Things weren’t so complicated then,” we sigh. “People had time to drink tea and chat with one another.”
Well, perhaps technology wasn’t so constantly and rapidly changing back then, or, more accurately, advertising and media didn’t play such a strong part in people’s lives as it does now, forcing them to change and buy and adapt and long for more and more material things. As far as being simple, many day to day chores – washing dishes, washing clothes, vacuuming the floors, keeping house – were the same as what we do today, but took longer because the technology was different. So while doing dishes was “simpler,” it wasn’t necessarily “faster.”
Then, as now, people made conscious decisions to spend time on the things that mattered, and for the woman in Midday Tea, what mattered was a break in the day’s work. In a quiet moment of solitude, a knock comes at the back door, and the woman needed to make the same decision we face when the phone rings: do we answer it, or not?
Featured in 24 Fine Art America groups.
March 31st, 2017
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