Jacqueline Humphries, Installation view, Greene Naftali, New York, 1997
The Greene Naftali Gallery will present an exhibition of new paintings by Jacqueline Humphries opening Saturday, October 25th and continuing through Saturday, November 29th. This exhibition is the artist's sixth solo show in New York. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, the Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship and a graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study program. Humphries was recently included in "Young Americans: American Art in the Saatchi Collection" at the Saatchi Gallery in London. She lives and works in New York City.
In a rather frank moment, Jacqueline Humphries stated her desire to make paintings that could turn the tables on questions which ask how life informs art. With beguiling force Humphries has made a new body of work which insists on the possibility of abstract painting which can be both critical and expressive. A restless post-modern consciousness is inflected in these paintings without forsaking a dramatic visceral presence.
Markedly different from her last body of work in which precise pours and drips marked a vertical composition, these paintings embrace an expressive horizontal gesture that is punk in its attitude; blatant, messy, risky and commanding. Big bold brushstrokes of paint sweep across large canvases in palettes ranging from bright primary colors to old master hues. There are two large concrete grey paintings in the exhibition which serve as barometers; icy, cool, factual and spacious.
The painted surface is accepted as a fiction to be exploited on its own terms and relies on an experiential reading. Indebted to the history of painting, these works are sandwiched between multiple and conflicting positions including Richter, Guston, De Kooning and Serra. Physicality, color, referent, and gesture garner tension; crashing and eliding at every turn. All of these paintings pivot on a single incisive cut which divides the canvas into two parts. The force of the division reigns in the extravagance of the gesture and cracks the fictional rapture. In his recent review of Terry Winters' exhibition, Peter Schjeldahl characterized Winters' paintings as a thaw, well then Humphries' paintings would best be characterized as a thrashing.