Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Nicole Eisenman at Astrup Fearnley Museet


Recent figuration - or perhaps figuration in the general last-200-years sense - oft used its skeletons as mere armatures hanging style, flesh was merely the tapestry of artistic identity, brand. Aesthetic invention was an artistic rug to throw over scene, this was called painting. The person's face was less representation than stamped by artistic trademark.  Brushwork as logotype. This is so obvious that is becomes part of the myth of art - we identify paintings based on well they showcase the "essence" of the painter. For a minute this is what we all loved Amy Sillman for - the awkward adolescence of artistic development, a becoming before it actually became. 
A difference between cartoons/comics and paintings is that comics ask you to understand them but paintings ask you to identify them. This is all to say that Eisenman seems - even when invested in style - to care about the image more than artistic overlay. This makes them more enjoyable than most, there are "surprises and not strategies." The above painting is basically a medical illustration of such.