Thursday, February 16, 2012

Le Sigh Essay by Fran Holstrom

Gina Beavers
Le Sigh

Nudashank is pleased to present a solo show of paintings by New York artist Gina Beavers. Symptomatic of our times, Le Sigh brings together a collection of energetic, representational paintings divergent in subject and style, all sourced from “glances of things in the world”.

Not satisfied with merely depicting life, the artist playfully recreates it. Emphasizing the handmade, Beavers revels in the plasticity of paint, she builds and shapes paint until the image enters objecthood. The resulting impasto paintings lurk in the realm of sticky-looking, na├»ve, coffee-shop art featuring distorted shadow-casting figures and disjointed abstractions. Her paintings can be serious, of-the-moment critiques, political, or just plain fun . When seen holistically as you would a newspaper, her subject matter could be categorized into: Movies, Politics, Art and About-Town; yet Gina Beavers’ work celebrates an artistic curiosity that refuses to be pinned down. She coyly uses photos from life, Google Image Search, Hollywood movie stills and physical objects/scenes as the source for her work.

Gina Beavers’ use of color has us hanging on the emotional edge. The dark monochrome palette in her Kafkaesque painting Six Pack is unapologetically awkward, like a teen fantasy; while Bridget D’s Pendant feels like a treasure hidden under a mattress in the grim world of Soltzhenitsyn. The vibrant color of Alligator body paint is akin to the feelgood jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau, but the toothsome reptile devouring a reclining female nude infers the artist’s disillusionment with the ever-changing feminine mystique. Returning us to neutral ground is Six Color Palette, which is the recreation of an art painting kit with discreet unmixed colors, bought for beginners, or painters-on-the-go.

Gina Beavers’ alluring, textural paintings are a unique interpretation of American culture today. When viewed together in an installation such as Le Sigh, Beavers work is the epitome of the contemporary subconscious brought to life: distracted, impatient and hungry for more.

My aim is to be understood by everyone. I reject the 'depth' that people demand nowadays, into which you can never descend without […] bullshit and intellectual metaphysics. This expressionistic anarchy has got to stop... A day will come when the artist will no longer be this bohemian, puffed-up anarchist but a healthy [wo]man working in clarity within a collectivist society. –George Grosz (wikepedia)

I love Hollywood. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.
–Andy Warhol (

le sigh: A common catch phrase used in the popular classic cartoon "Pepe Le Pew" of Looney Tunes. The cartoon would feature a skunk inevitably falling for a cat who always seemed to get a strip of white pants on her otherwise completely black said feline the appearance of a female skunk. Pepe would hop around (literally hopping) trying to woo the extremely hesitant (understatement) kitty. –

-Fran Holstrom, Februrary 2012