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Nicole Eisenman

1965 | Verdun, France
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Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Photo: Nathan Perkel

Sponsor
— Anton Kern Gallery

American painter and draughtswoman.

Born in France to American parents, Nicole Eisenman graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987. The inspiration for her works comes from the allegorical paintings of ancient art (Rubens), but also from popular culture (comic strips, advertisements, TV series and B-movies), with a special debt to the draughtsman Robert Crumb: the host of figures which are the hallmark of her works plunges us into vaguely familiar cosmology. But the satirical realism of certain gigantic drawings also echoes the wall frescoes of the Works Progress Administration on the 1930s, an agency set up as part of the New Deal, which commissioned artists to produce large decorative projects. Last of all, her style as well the spirit of social criticism which typifies her work borrow from German Expressionism.

With its variable style, her work stems from satire as much as from re-appropriation. In this revision of art history, the artist shifts elements coming from well-known works into a lesbian punk environment and a grotesque and hallucinatory atmosphere. Through the irony she makes use of, she is close to contemporary artists like John Currin, and German painters in the Leipzig school, but she suggests a re-think of the macho conventions of the predominant iconography thanks to her objects with powerful sexual connotations, which release a merry vulgarity. Her world is filled with orgiastic crowds, dionysiac sacrifices, and allegorical and heroic scenes where the main roles are played by women. Mythical figures leave their roles and undertake bold acts of vengeance, like the Amazons chasing Minotaur by Pablo Picasso, with an overtly aggressive and fun-loving libido, well removed from any norms (The Minotaur Hunt, 1992). Among her most recent works, the theme of lesbian motherhood stands out. She also produces portraits imbued with sadness, which she contrasts with an obsession with happiness.

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Fabienne Dumont

Translated from French by Simon Pleasance.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, It Is So, 2014, oil on canvas, 165.1 x 208.3 cm, 65 x 82 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, The Triumph of Poverty, 2009, oil on canvas, 165.1 x 208.3 cm, 65 x 82 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, From Success to Obscurity, 2004, oil on canvas, 129.5 x 101.6 cm, 51 x 40 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, Alice in Wonderland, 1998, ink on paper, 129.5 x 99 cm, 51 x 39 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, Swimmers in the Lap Lane, 1995, oil on canvas, 129.5 x 99 cm, 51 x 39 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, Were-artist, 2007, oil on canvas, 154.94 x 127 cm, 61 x 50 in., Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, Brooklyn Biergarten II, 2008, oil on canvas, 165.1 x 208.3 cm, 65 x 82 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Nicole Eisenman — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Nicole Eisenman, Morning Studio, 2016, oil on canvas, 167.64 x 210.82 cm, 66 x 83 in., Courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York

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