Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nicole Eisenman make happy

I recently inspected the new Nicole Eisenman show at Susan Vielmetter and it really put fire in my tush—in a good way. Not only as a painter but as a person. What at first seems to be an unfocused bric-a-brac of styles, media, and imagery—amounting to series of one liners—slowly percolates as a whole into a hilariously angry statement on a variety of subjects. They run the gamut from the personal to gender politics. Almost each painting had it's own art historical reference, technique and subject. Eisenman is deft at weaving through them all without making the show look scatterbrained or over-ambitious. As a painter concerned with such matters of style diversity AS a style, my heart was fluttering with joy. I also liked how she wasn't afraid to be silly and slapdash, tottering the line between reverence and irreverence for craft of painting. I realize she's known for painting in the style of the WPA era, among other art-historical idioms, but I see lots of Amy Sillman, her buddy, in her work too. Maybe they hang out too much.
Anyway, the main room was for bigger works which tended to be more 'refined'. The back room was a smattering of drawings and slap-happy paintings cum collages. It was pretty fun looking at them all. The main painting in the small room caught my eye was the one depicting an empty table offering a pancake breakfast. Each of the chairs had names: Sarah Silverman, Martha Stewart, Nicole E., some other women, and finally, Dracula. I think this painting was the index of the show.