SX Live

07.20.2017

Elaine, let's get the hell out of here at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NY

23 August 2017
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Elaine, let's get the hell out of here. 
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NY
JUNE 29  - AUGUST 18

Deborah Anzinger, Alex Bradley Cohen, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Ralph Lemon, Al Loving, Rosemary Mayer, Joan Mitchell, Sheila Pepe, Sable Elyse Smith, Joan Snyder, Vanessa Thill, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung 

In the January 1971 issue of ARTnews, the magazine asked Elaine de Kooning and seven other artists to respond to an article they were publishing in the same issue: Linda Nochlin’s now-iconic essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Right away, de Kooning took issue with the term “women artists,” using an anecdote to explain.

“I was talking to Joan Mitchell at a party about 10 years ago when a man came up to us and said, ‘What do you women artists think…’ Joan grabbed my arm and said, ‘Elaine, let’s get the hell out of here.’”

In the spirit of Joan and Elaine’s party exit, this show brings together artists working across disparate contexts and mediums whose practices take complicated and resistant positions on identity.

Across the seven generations of artists represented here, one can chart when and why certain labels (abstraction, expressionism, portraiture, gender, race, sexuality, drip, scribble, swipe) have historically been embraced or rejected. More importantly, however, the work exemplifies that sorting through all of the categories one might use to circumscribe a work of art is a messy and mercurial business. Each of the works on view remain ambivalent, even prickly, as they make and unmake the capacious boundaries of modernism.

The exhibition begins with Mitchell and de Kooning and traces an attitude of refusal through successive generations of artists with kindred aesthetic gestures and interests. All of the artists in the show employ certain modernist strategies, but for their own means and with their own agendas. In disallowing materials, colors, and strokes from being pinned down, the work manifests a politicized expressionism.

Anzinger (b. 1978), who is based in Kingston, Jamaica, uses abstraction to consider the site of her home country and the trope of woman-as-landscape in a Caribbean context. She posits slipperiness as a tool for survival in a postcolonial setting and, in the space of her canvas, allows forms and colors to embody two things at once and contradictions to survive simultaneously. The element of the mirror is not just an addition to her palette, but is used as a means to implicate the viewer.
 

Anzinger is a contributor to Small Axe, and was recently featured in a visual portfolio in SX 52.
Shown work is by Anzinger, Deborah Anzinger entitled,  I told you, 2017. Acrylic and mirrored glass on canvas,
72 x 54 inches.