Having established herself as a central figure in American painting throughout the 1990s, Nicole Eisenman has only continued to grow and expand her impact and practice over the following decades, building her practice outwards into a range of media formats and frameworks that explore her particular experience of the construction of 2-dimensional, and now 3-dimensional space. Marking her first show with Hauser & Wirth in the gallery’s picturesque Somerset compound, the artist showcases a diverse multidisciplinary language through mixed media works on paper, sculpture and painting.
The exhibition features a series of paper pulp drawings created over the past three years at the Brooklyn-based non-profit Dieu Donné workshop, where Eisenman delved into the visual culture and history of the poster format, drawing from the motifs of film posters and billboards, memes and wall hangings to create a new entry in a body of work that continues her particular style of wit and humor, juxtaposing diverse images and text that marks the pieces as instantly recognizable. Created in collaboration with master papermakers while a resident at Dieu Donné’s Lab Grant program, the series combines elements of drawing, painting and sculpture, painted with pigmented linen pulp directly into a cotton substrate during the papermaking process. The artist then drains and dries the pulp to reveal an image that is inseparable from its medium. Exploring a process that seems to hardwire structure and form into the fabric of the work, the pieces mark an engaging new entry in Eisenman’s work.
Also on view is an iteration of the artist’s vastly popular Sketch for a Fountain, previously exhibited at Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany in 2017. Presenting a series of bronze nudes posed lounging around a central pool, her work draws on a classical mode of fountain sculpture and iconography, but turns the attention from body to water, with each character posed around the pool rather than serve as its center. Eisenman interprets one of the oldest examples of public art in a subtle transformation, a deprogramming of the form’s often opulent iconographies in favor of a perspective on human form and human community, a series of human forms broken free of mythological depictions or royal signifiers, turning instead towards a shared relationship to space and water.
Eisenman’s show here is a fascinating continuation of her work, pulling together an exploratory use of materials into a body of work that explores the human experience and spirit. The show closes January 10th.
– D. Creahan
Nicole Eisenman at Hauser & Wirth [Exhibition Site]