Purple Nipple

Is a painting off-putting in some way? This is all to the artistic good if we are confident that the painter knows exactly what we are looking at. The repulsive element then becomes the precise hint that, hardest to take, must be taken. It becomes a warranty of urgency and sympathy, calling our own anxieties out to play. This is where being interesting comes in. It doesn't matter how well a tale is told, if the tale won't thrill.

Blazing, steely clarity in realms of lugubrious, molten feeling: Honeymoon (1998)
Robin Holland
Blazing, steely clarity in realms of lugubrious, molten feeling: Honeymoon (1998)

Yuskavage passes these minimum tests of mastery. She does so with a strenuous determination that risks brittle, tiresome overemphasis. Her surreality is never safely remote from arbitrary freakiness. And now and then, overloaded with mannerisms, a picture will go stone dead. (See the one titled Loved.) Banking everything on the accuracy and honesty of her immediate idea, she courts failure that isn't just relative. This is exciting. Remember when contemporary art was an adventure? With the likes of Yuskavage around, it is adventurous again.

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