Morris Hirshfield (1872 – 1946) began to paint at the age of 65, after retiring from a career making women’s coats, suits and slippers. The flattened, decorative forms of Inseparable Friends (1941) echo his garment-making work. Without distinguishing between the floor and the wall, Hirshfield creates a room through thee planes of shapes and patterns: the women at their mirror, the tasseled curtain above them, and the plant and shoes at their feet. While Hirshfield’s compositions are simplified and stylized, he aimed for meticulous, realistic detail and believed that his figures represented the human body “better than the camera can do.”
The High Line always seems to have new public art installed along its mile-plus length of green space, and Five Conversations by Tanzanian-born artist Lubaina Himid, although it has been up since April, was new to me as I walked south along the path on my way to the Whitney Museum one sweltering Sunday afternoon.
For Five Conversations, Himid introduces five wooden doors reclaimed from traditional Georgian townhouses, painted with life-size portraits, cut into silhouettes, that stand freely as flat sculptures. The portraits depict everyday, stylish women who love talking to each other!
These works have a theatrical quality, referencing stage sets and the simplified histories that dominate our world. In her signature way, Himid brings the two-dimensional medium of painting into our three-dimensional world.
Part of the En Plein Air, a Group Exhibit that Examines and Expands the Tradition of Outdoor Painting, On View Through March 2020.
Pace Prints is currently hosting Ryan McGinness: Figure Drawings, the artist’s second exhibition at the gallery. I can’t say I’m sorry that I missed the opening reception, because how could you possibly get good photos of these works in a gallery full of people?
Figure Drawings is a continuation of the McGinness’s Women series, which he started working on in 2010. Drawing directly from nude models, he approaches these drawings in the same manner in which he creates his signature undulating and layered icons.
McGinness begins with sketches, and refines those drawings down into their basic and most essential forms. In the Women series, the artist simultaneously embraces the inherent sensuality of his models through their graceful lines and gentle curves, while allowing his iconic drawings to be less about the individual woman and more about presentations of universal womanhood.
Entwining the cool glow of various neon lights with his women, composed of flat shapes à la Matisse, the works are at once signage, symbol, and live interaction. With neon, there is no real substitute to seeing these electric drawings in person as photographs cannot fully capture the colorful hazed effect on the figure. This sexy emitted light glows on the entire exhibition, giving a spectacle buzz to the full body of works.
Also included in the exhibition are a series of new fluorescent silkscreened Women Parts, porcelain-baked enamel on steel panels, halftoned models on linen, and mirror polished stainless steel works with etched figures—which resonate with the neon lights, layering images in reflection.
Definitely check this one out while you can.
Ryan McGinness Figure Drawings will be on Exhibit through June 7th, 2014 at Pace Prints, Located at 521 Westr 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District