September 25, 2008

Glantzman: Searching for self

At ArtCritical, Cathy Quinlan reports that Judy Glantzman's work, on view at Betty Cunningham, has evolved. "In the first years this decade, Judy Glantzman’s paintings were of the single figure, painted and repainted: female, with multiple personalities and isolated in space. Suddenly, in 2004, there was a population explosion. It was as if these women had given birth to hundreds of disembodied heads. Or else, Glantzman had looked up to find herself on the subway where anyone not immersed in a newspaper or a novel studies everyone else’s facial expressions. Her method of painting also changed radically. Instead of painting and repainting the entire piece, wet-on-wet, every day, the paintings became an accumulative series of sketched heads and there was a desparate attempt to organize them—as totem poles, mandalas, crosses, etc. The viewer’s gaze moved quickly, paralleling the speed of the drawing, as if searching for someone (and not finding him). They could also be read as watching the play of fleeting expressions on a single face.

"In this latest series, another deep change has occurred. Vestiges of the stacked and circled heads remain, but they are often enclosed in a larger figure and a physical space is loosely suggested. Glantzman is using a greater variety of organizing tactics and approaching narrative space. She also singles out specific faces and other details for our longer contemplation. Drawing and painting alternate in an extremely fluid and unusual way in these works. Has a painter ever been compared to Aretha Franklin, the way she can be talking one moment and singing the next?"

"Judy Glantzman," Betty Cunningham Gallery, New York, NY. Through Oct. 11.

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