Lorraine Shemesh & the Impossibility of the Romantic

Lorraine Shemesh, Ghost, 2006-2009, 72 x 64 inches, oil on canvas (Private Collection)
Lorraine Shemesh, Ghost, 2006-2009, 72 x 64 inches, oil on canvas (Private Collection)

Martin Mugar considers the paintings of Lorraine Shemesh.

Mugar writes: "Whereas [Shemesh's] earlier painting retained the notion of an observation of swimmers in a recognizable setting, the latest work puts the observer in with the observed. She does not rely on a romantic search for connections between herself and the environment that allows [Edwin] Dickinson to overcome his solipsistic isolation but conveys rather the inability to jettison the self in such a liquid realm. Of course to swim casually in a non-competitive manner implies the desire of the swimmer to enjoy being buoyed up by a warm and caressing world similar to the amniotic fluid that supports a fetus. Shemesh retains a strange, almost awkward, disconnect between the possibility of a merger between the water and the physical hardness of the body that resists it. There is built into her work the impossibility of the kind of cosmic explosion of the self of a Pollock or the a priori connection one finds in Dickinson..."