Painter Lisa Yuskavage’s Sultry Sirens Are Back at David Zwirner
The artist's signature female figures return in a series of 14 new paintings.
In what is her debut outing at David Zwirner’s London venue, Lisa Yuskavage presents a survey of new paintings depicting the erotic yet angelic women that she has become so well known for. Here, her noticeable subjects—whose full busts and hour-glass shapes render them close to caricatures—return in full form, depicted across a series of 14 works.
Particularly voluptuous women are somewhat of a signature motif for the painter, and Yuskavage has long succeeded in imbuing them with contradicting characteristics: they are at once human—their bodies playing a central role in the works—while simultaneously being other-worldly and dreamlike.
Some of this complicated aura can be attributed to the two starkly different realms the artist alternates between: the domestic and the fantastic. The household settings provides the women with a human quality, while the juxtaposing ethereal background reminds us that they possess celestial, seraphic qualities. These starkly different backdrops both serve to underscore the women’s heavily exaggerated sexuality.
A handful of the works on view at Zwirner depict the female protagonist engaging with a man or men, further complicating Yuskavage’s characters in a move the press release explains as an “exploration of the dynamics of intertwined couples.” All of these multi-figure paintings are sexual in nature, regardless of whether the subjects are shown mid-act or bathing in post-coital bliss.
The artist employs color as a tool to further the narratives of those in her paintings. She may intentionally portray one person in dark hues and another in light, vibrant tones. Yuskavage refers to this use of color as “emotional formalism”—defined by the gallery as a method that “gives the subjects expression through coloration and other pictorial inventions.”
Below, see the works of Yuskavage’s carnal and fantastical figuration.
“Lisa Yuskavage” is on view through July 28 at David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, W1S 4EZ, London.
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