The nude is a recurrent topic in contemporary artistic practices regardless of the media. It constantly intrigues artists to explore it further by exploiting their own visions, desires, and emotions and referring to different (historical) modes of representation. The depictions of naked bodies are almost always associated with the gaze, and it is just the matter of the artists’ agenda of how that gaze is articulated.
Lisa Yuskavage is an American artist who devotedly investigates how the nudes stimulate, provoke or subvert the gaze. For more than thirty years, her sensual figurations have been highly regarded and approached with interest. David Zwirner gallery, which has been representing Yuskavage since 2005, decided to organize two exhibitions at their venues in New York in order to present accordingly both her earlier and latest works.
The Gaze Matters
Although at first glance conventional, the artistic practice of Lisa Yuskavage develops behind the restrictions of the genre. By portraying bold and exhibitionist figures, which are both the ones to be looked at and the ones who are looking, the artist produces enticing narratives about the very nature of spectatorship or voyeurism.
The influences present in Yuskavage’s work can be searched in the oeuvres of the precedents such as Elizabeth Peyton or Francis Bacon, yet the artist still manages to reach a high level of authenticity by focusing on dichotomies between high and low, harmony and dissonance, sacred and profane.
The Selected Works
For this particular occasion, David Zwirner decided to juxtapose two selections. At the first venue, the artist’s small-scale paintings present in her oeuvre since the mid-1980s will be on display. Some are studies for large paintings, and are based on the artist’s imagination, live models, found and staged photographs.
The second installment will feature her eight new large paintings depicting mostly couples. These depictions of interdependent male and female figures came from Yuskavage’s series of Symbiotic portraits from the early 2000s.
Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner Gallery
Two simultaneous exhibitions will offer a fine insight into the development of Yuskavage’s practice; especially the continuation, and her craftsmanship will be underlined.
An extensive catalog created in close collaboration with the artist will include texts by renowned art historians, curators, and writers.
The retrospective of Lisa Yuskavage titled Babie Brood: Small Paintings 1985–2018 will be on display at David Zwirner gallery on West 19th Street, while the second one Lisa Yuskavage: New Paintings will be on display on East 69th Street. Both exhibitions will open on 8 November and stay on view until 15 December 2018.
Featured image: Lisa Yuskavage – Foodeater, detail, 1996. © Lisa Yuskavage, Hall Collection. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner
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