Sunday, March 27, 2005

Marlene Dumas @ Zwirner & Wirth

I went to see the Marlene Dumas show of paintings at Zwirner & Wirth just last week, as I happened to be in the neighborhood and ducked into the gallery. I’d never heard of this artist before, yet I felt that the paintings were honest and straightforward without being overwrought or pretentious. The paint is thin and applied with a fresh confidence; obviously this artist is not relying on assistants and others to “help” (see Damien Hirst in an earlier posting).
As it turns out, the NY Times ran a review of the show :

Marlene Dumas's Number Comes Up
“But the city has a fresh opportunity to see what the fuss is all about... Her work intermingles high and pop-cultural imagery and touches on favored hot buttons, from politics to female sexuality to race. Her overall subject can be construed as the ambiguity of the pictorial image, a major critical talking point right now.”
Published: March 27, 2005

This is painting that is as tough as nails, that tackles many issues without losing the sense of the nature of touch, gesture and surface, infused with a deftness and light. John Currin, the much-lauded “best painter in NY right now” wishes he could paint this well.
Did I fail to mention that paintings by Marlene Dumas fetch the highest prices of a living female painter?

Marlene Dumas
Selected Works
Zwirner & Wirth
32 East 69th Street
From February 18 - April 23, 2005

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