Babie Brood: Small Paintings 1985–2018
David Zwirner is pleased to present concurrent exhibitions of work by Lisa Yuskavage at the gallery’s 34 East 69th Street and 533 West 19th Street locations in New York.
On view in Chelsea will be an extensive survey of Yuskavage’s small-scale paintings, organized in close collaboration with the artist. A constant and integral part of Yuskavage’s overall practice, the small paintings play a remarkably dynamic and protean role within it, as the artist has consistently employed this format to explore a wide variety of media, techniques, sources, and purposes. The largest presentation of these works to date, the exhibition will include key examples from each of Yuskavage's most important series, spanning the full breadth of her influential career, from the mid-1980s to new, never before exhibited paintings.
A group of new large-scale canvases relating to the artist’s recent "Couples" paintings will be featured uptown. These charged depictions of often interlocking, interdependent male and female figures developed out of the artist's series of "symbiotic" portraits from the early 2000s that paired two female figures to evoke a sense of a dual manifestation of a single personality.
Image: Lisa Yuskavage, Little Kingdom, 2005 (detail)
Lisa Yuskavage’s small paintings offer unique insight into her working process. In 2004, the artist invited screenwriter and film director Tamara Jenkins to write an essay for the publication Lisa Yuskavage: Small Paintings 1993–2004. The two friends were recently in conversation on Dialogues: The David Zwirner Podcast.
As part of the book’s introduction, a hand-drawn diagram by Jenkins explores the genealogy of Yuskavage’s Hamass subject over time. "You’ll discover instances when the same composition appears with different colors or different lighting," Jenkins writes; "Occasionally there are tiny adjustments made to the subject’s pose or the expression on her face. In these cases Lisa is trying out an idea in all its variations before launching into a large-scale production. Seeing all these explorations of the same image is like being given a chance to sit in on the painting equivalent of a rehearsal. . . . Working small allows her the opportunity to stay close to the image while painting. . . . Similarly, the viewer must get close to a small painting in order to engage with it."
The following examples from Yuskavage’s current solo exhibition Babie Brood: Small Paintings 1985–2018 introduce some of her major series. While Babie Brood is arranged loosely chronologically, the taxonomies below became another organizing principle. These categories didn’t define the works while they were being made, but came to help define them as this exhibition came together. To see additional works as well as related information, visit the artist’s website.