Since the 1970s, Joan Semmel has centered her practice around representations of the body from the female perspective, often taking her own body as subject. In her most recent series of paintings, her body fills the canvas in a manner that echoes the in-camera cropping of the photographs she takes as the basis for her compositions. In White Hair (2020), Semmel's silverish locks become the focal point of the composition—glowing behind her shoulder with the use of a careful manipulation of light. Ranging from the nearly opaque to the almost translucent, a diversity of paint applications fill the pure violet background. White Hair foregrounds a mastery of brushwork stemming back to her roots in Abstract Expressionism. The brighter foreground, filled with shades of the sunlight that flood the artist's studio, contrasts the darker tones of the shadowed areas, the effect of which critic Johanna Fateman has described as "passages of smoldering chiaroscuro."