Oil stick and graphite on canvas 68 x 92 in.(172.7 x 233.7 cm)
Collection of the artist
Commentary: While Joan Witek was making the final preparatory drawing for this painting, the two vertical shapes must have begun to seem to her more figural than architectural. Originally called "The Bridge,” Witek later retitled the work "Las Medians” after the maids of honor or ladies in waiting of the Spanish Court.
As she described it in her notes, "the title first came to me and I didn't know what it was - eventually discovered it was #Velásquez’s title. Associations with me: #Spanish, the Spanish love of black, named after the women who cared for the princesses at court - my being a woman, Spanish.”
Commentary via Mead Art Museum: Since the 1970s, Joan Witek has worked exclusively in black and white. Although black is often considered a formal or somber color, Witek strives for a playful, impressionistic effect. She achieves this in "It’s a Jungle Out There …" and its preparatory drawing by contrasting smooth- and fuzzy-edged ellipses in inky black against the unpainted grounds of the canvas and paper.
Steven Jacobson acquired these artworks directly from the artist, with whom he developed a close friendship. He describes visiting her studio in Tribeca before it became a “ritzy” area: “I used to ring the doorbell and she would open a window, wrap a sock around the key, and toss it down to me. I’d open the door and walk up the five flights of stairs to her studio. Joan would show me paintings, give me coffee, and we’d talk art for an hour or so.”