The New Face of Painting? Nicole Eisenman Reinvents Portraiture in Her New Show at Anton Kern

Take a sneak peek at Nicole Eisnman's new aluminum cast face sculptures.

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman
Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

“I return to the face again and again, but it’s also the relationship that is primordial—everything happens between two bodies.”

So said Nicole Eisenman, speaking to painter and friend David Humphrey in an interview that appeared in BOMB magazine in the summer of 2015. Eisenman is probably best known for figurative paintings à la Francesco Clemente or Philip Guston; her survey at the New Museum last year focused on the allegorical side of her work. But, as the quote above indicates, faces have been a consistent point of departure in her artistic production, serving as her entry point into the emotional and psychological space between people.

Her latest body of work, now on display at Anton Kern Gallery in Midtown Manhattan, may be modest in size, but it is significant in that it puts the focus on faces: It centers on a series of small, mask-size sculptures. “Faces: Painted Reliefs” presents a collection of aluminum casts of found objects that Eisenman later manipulated and painted to make into alternatively droll and spirited visages that are stark, colorful, funny, and strange—precious little mugs that incite both laughter and unease.

Below, see some images of Eisenman’s painted sculptures:

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017, oil on cast aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York / © Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman’s “Faces: Painted Reliefs” is on view at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, June 1–July 7, 2017.


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