Thursday, October 25, 2012


Dana Schutz "Self-Portrait"
This is unusual subject matter for contemporary NYC-based painter Dana Schutz, who states that her work is emphatically NOT autobiographical. Schutz is known for her brightly colored works with such macabre themes as  "Self-Eaters and the People Who Love Them."  Her usual subject matter, very frequently death and dismemberment, is presented with such humorous silliness and bright deliciously swishy swathes of paint that they can make you smile and gag at the same time. This image is from the Rizzoli monograph on the artist from 2010.

When journalist Mei Chin interviewed Schutz for an article in Bomb magazine in 2006, she asked the artist about the fantastical nature of her imagery and Schutz replied, " I respond to what I think is happening in the world. The hypotheticals in the paintings can act as surrogates or narratives for phenomena that I feel are happening in culture."  In my own (likely flawed) assessment of Schutz's aesthetic motivation I believe what she is tackling is the duality of our culture's  aggressive "feel good" imperative which co-exists side by side with the ever-increasing awareness of the stark tragedies of life.  (Which thanks to world wide web and more media attention we now know more and more and more about.)  Schutz's paintings seem to me to be a brave, funny, yet at heart horrified way of trying to reconcile these two opposed streams of consciousness: the beauty of life and its ugliness.

A hard row to hoe. Hence all the Cadmium Yellow!


1 comment:

Tilda Mann said...

This image, like your entire blog, is so inspiring. I love the invented color and the focused attention of the pose. What a great resource to have all this thematically related material in one place!