There’s a powerful fragility in every woman painted by the great Malcolm Liepke. His production, if you let us a personal, unauthorized taxonomy, can be divided into three stages (and we call them stages because each situation is meticulously prepared and nothing seem to be left to chance): women who look at you, women who don’t look at you at all, and women’s anatomical details. The first stage – the one where the women look at you – there’s no way out: the eyes pin you like a dead butterfly on a piece of cardboard. You can’t look elsewhere and you suddenly realize a complicity is already established between you and her. Yet, those eyes are asking for a confirmation, they belong to a woman that wants to be told she’s beautiful. These eyes are wet and trembling and insecure; they can’t hold their own beauty, which is slowly dissipating into ether. These women are fragile because they can’t exist without a viewer and they ask for a permission to exist as if, without you, they were afraid to disappear. The second stage – where women don’t look at you at all – the viewer must tiptoe not to awake them from their state of abandonment and grace. They mostly love to lay on a sofa, like drunk pussy cats, with blankets and pillows of different colors and patterns to keep them good company. Sometimes they are just minding their business, as distant from where they are as they possibly could. They don’t care about you, they are not aware of your presence, so you might leave them alone and walk into the third stage, where the painted body is a simple, clear celebration of itself, without restraints. The flesh in Liepke’s paintings is always changing color, it can be steamy hot or bloody cold; it can shift from yellow to pink, grey, dark brown, bright orange, up to a beuatiful lime green, all in one body. It’s not difficult to recognize the full palette of great masters: Cezanne, Manet, Matisse, but also Boldini, Hopper and many others come to mind. These extraordinary women might be fragile, but they will never feel alone.