In the Pink is a group exhibition featuring paintings, drawings and photographs that unabashedly explore the pleasure— and tension— of looking at the female body. While some figures twist and turn spasmodically, revealing fleshy exposed orifices, others are seemingly caught in static, private moments. Spanning across several generations, the exhibition, curated by Sarvia Jasso, includes work by Rosalyn Drexler, K. Garcia, Cindy Hinant, Dorothy Iannone, Manon, Carolee Schneemann, Dasha Shishkin, and Betty Tompkins and is on view from June 21–July 31, 2012.
Rosalyn Drexler (b. 1926) is best known for her small paintings of Pop imagery, usually appropriated from magazines and newspapers and collaged onto canvas—a technique she began using in the 1960s. In Self Portrait, (1964), a scantily clad woman kicks her heels up in the air, exuding freedom and confidence. Reality bleeds into fiction and fantasy as Drexler projects her self-image onto Pop imagery. Interestingly, during a brief stint wrestling professionally under the name Rosa Carlo The Mexican Spitfire, Drexler became one of Andy Warhol’s subjects.
Since the 1960s, Dorothy Iannone (b.1933) has focused her production on the power of female sexuality and the spiritual transcendence that results from physical union. Included in this exhibition is The Man Who Became A Woman, (c. 1963), a small and singular work in which Iannone makes a bold statement about the malleability of gender.
Betty Tompkins (b. 1945) has been creating large-scale photorealistic paintings of explicit sexual imagery since 1969. During this time, which was also the height of minimalism in New York, Tompkins dealt with criticism from feminists at home and censorship abroad. Shortly after her work was included in the Lyon Biennale in 2003, Tompkins’ work received deserved attention once again and the artist proceeded to make her signature Fuck, Cunt and Kiss paintings. Fuck Painting #45, (2011) is included in this exhibition.
A pioneer body, video, performance and installation artist, Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939) participated in the original Happenings that took place in New York in the late 1950s. This exhibition includes an important work from her oeuvre, Unexpectedly Research, in which Schneemann revisits performances that she originally presented between 1962–1982. While reviewing the extensive archive, Schneemann realized her images were unconsciously influenced by non-Western and Indo-European artifacts. Unexpectedly Research pairs these images side by side, manifesting the power of the unconscious mind, while also referencing the ancient mystical feminine sources in Schneemann’s work.
Manon (b.1946) is a Swiss artist who has been photographing herself in different guises since the early 1970s, exploring a range of genders and sexualities. In Das Doppelzimmer (The Double Room, 1982), a photographic series that originally includes thirty images, Manon and her male counterpart mirror each other in various poses. In the Pink includes a single photograph in which Manon’s nudity is juxtaposed with her “double” who wears a full suit. As she stares directly into his eyes, Manon creates a delicate balance of being both the object and artist in control.
Cindy Hinant (b. 1984) also works with photography, sculpture and installation. In Women (2011), images of women were taken from the Internet, cropped and then saturated in a soft pink shade. Each of the nine photographs depicts one artist whose nude torso was found online. Hinant makes their breasts the focal point while their personal identities and artistic contributions remain hidden. Using the same approach as some of the early feminists—sexualizing and creating powerful images of the female body to challenge the male gaze—Hinant contests the assumption that the body is only a site of visual consumption.
K. Garcia (b. 1978) subverts cultural taboos, delving into explorations of gender, sexuality, psychology and their relationship to both art history and contemporary pop zeitgeist. For In the Pink, Garcia exhibits a drawing from the series Carla. Here we see Carla transformed from an abject state into an angular incarnation now renamed Carla O. Lisk. Stimulated by the gaze of her portraitist, Carla performs a sexual act. Consequently what is depicted in Carla O. Lisk is the tenuous relationship between subject and viewer, where the subject, empowered by the gaze of the artist, moves beyond the object–Carla’s position is active, productive, as exemplified by the heels of her stiletto breaking the border of the frame.
Also known for her detailed drawings, Dasha Shishkin (b. 1977) illustrates fantastical and carnivalesque worlds without prescribed narratives. In What Do You Mean You Can’t Of Course You Can (2012), two female figures (one pink, one yellow) lay motionless on a platform, surrounded by a group of figures with phallic noses. Chunks of their buttocks have fallen off, revealing blood-red body tissue. Using a bright color palette and unrestrained lines, Shishkin leaves it up to the viewer to discern the action that spans across the canvas.