ENVISIONING THE FIGURE: WORKS FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Reflecting the eye of collectors who are deeply imbedded in the contemporary art world, this superb assemblage is a powerful and unusual combination of some of the most cutting edge works of art. With an impressive selection of predominately figurative works, the group creates a commanding dialogue about illustrating the body through a variety of media. Often these depictions are bold and challenging, by artists who are not afraid to take risks. It is an expressive collection which highlights some of the most courageous artists working over the last decade.
Including works by established names alongside rising stars and hidden gems, this collection has educed an impressive narrative inherent to the human figure and the illustration of the body. The artists represented work in many disparate styles, techniques, and media, but all enrich the contemporary debate surrounding what it means to be human in a certain type of body. Their powerful representations are often brutal, tough, and raw, but in their bravery express a deeper beauty essential to the human form.
The depictions range from hyper-realistic to enigmatic, and approach their bodily subjects from varied angles. Some are overtly physical, with an explicit focus on anatomy, like David Altmejd’s masterpiece Figure, John Baldessari’s Hands and/or Feet (Part One): Shark / Chain, and Sherrie Levine’s superlative False God. Some reference the body more obliquely, like Urs Fischer’s 4:15pm & 4:15pm, two crutches which morph and collapse into themselves and each other through space, utter personifications of the state of bodily weakness they convey. Others present psychological portraits of their subjects, in which the documentation of the artist’s psychic state and physical presence in a particular moment become a different type of figuration, as in Yayoi Kusama’s quintessential Untitled. Still others emphasize the type of body depicted as a symbol of certain values, codes, or politics: Kerry James Marshall brings race to the foreground in Untitled (Stono Drawing), and Raymond Pettibon does the same with sexuality in Untitled (She would like to kiss).
Each work presents its own perspective in the artist’s unique visual language, but when brought together, the collection produces a critical and original conversation illuminating the roles and abilities of figuration in art today.
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