New York – Rita Ackermann and Carol Rama: “Body Issues” at Marlborough Contemporary Through February 10th, 2018

February 9th, 2018

Rita Ackerman, Hip Shot (2016-2017), via Marlborough Contemporary
Rita Ackermann, Hip Shot (2016-2017), via Marlborough Contemporary

Body Matters, currently on view at Marlborough Contemporary is a two piece art exhibition featuring the work of Rita Ackermann and Carol Rama. The juxtaposition of each artist’s works, which mine brusque gestures and varied approaches to the construction of the art object, creates a dialogue between the two artists, and an almost maniac motion of ideas and eras. The composition of each work inhabits a space amid the figurative and the abstract, where human form disappears and reappears with flashes of color and movement. The concordance of imagery of psychosexual fantasies, dark distortions and transgressive glitches initiates a conversation that honors and liberates the beauty of the female form.Rita Ackermann’s Hip-Shot is a graceful, yet savage composition of large scale oil and wax paintings, silhouetting a woman’s profile in a classically arranged manner that is conveyed through abstract emotions rooted in contemporary conceptual perspectives. The vivid line, the depiction of the figure and its enigmatic motions craft a contrast of fluid aesthetics and sudden violence. With time, the image acquires morbid undertones implying the form of a woman on the edge of oblivion. Another other canvas is ordered with rushed lines of dramatic, debauched color that inhabits a space between the figurative and the abstract. The female form swims in and out of view through traces and flashes of color.

Carol Rama, Bricolage (1968), via Marlborough
Carol Rama, Bricolage (1968), via Marlborough

Carol Rama’s Bricolage, by contrast, presents a mixed media collage of ink, spray paint, nails, matchsticks and glue on paper, inciting a visceral and deeply personal response. The image is dark and sweeping in its energy. A black figure hangs like a wretched body, rammed and restrained in a manner that encompasses the erratic language of physical sickness,  disquieted form that heightens the friction between freedom and restraint, evoking a distinct sense of frenetic energy, and perhaps even madness. The image is fervent, disturbed by a vision of demonic forms accented by the artist’s washes of color, portraying a profound, intuitively expressive scene, a wild passion of feminine energies that feels quite potent in conversation with Ackermann’s work. 

Carol Rama, Bricolage (1968), via Marlborough
Carol Rama, Bricolage (1968), via Marlborough

The exhibition reveals a love for anarchic exhibitionism and romantic idyll, using these works in free form to slow down the images and help them regain liberty and distance. The two artists use womanhood as a line of examination for cultural norms.  It compels the viewer to think with the artistic connotation of gender and to reflect on how much womanhood primed the fury that fired their art.

— D. Fenicia

Read more:
Marlborough Contemporary: Body Matters [Exhibition Site]