Saturday, March 5, 2022

Alice Neel at Xavier Hufkens


There is no more ecstatic comedy than Alice Neel painting a face like a car accident, all shrapnel and torqued metal, and borderline flesh hanging from crumpled undercarriage. Painting a mirror in the slow process of shattering. (Zoom in on brushwork better rendering shucked oysters than lips.) Neel is a master of angles that shouldn't human - instead the frog spawn abstraction of late Rembrandt. Faces are funny, a cruelty that Neel somehow doesn't make painful. Instead micro-events of painting blasted across and endeared to our gumlike faces.