Nicole Eisenman & David Humphrey

Nicole Eisenman, Close to Edge, 2015, oil on canvas, 82 × 65 inches (courtesy of
Nicole Eisenman, Close to Edge, 2015, oil on canvas, 82 × 65 inches (courtesy of the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York)

Nicole Eisenman and David Humphrey discuss their approaches to narrative and figurative painting.

Eisenman: "My thing is that I’m really into narrative. It’s not about the figure—it’s the storytelling that I’m stuck on. The meat and bones in my practice is somewhere between texture and storytelling."

Humphrey: "Something comes alive right when you’re trying to solve a problem in the picture. It might be: What kind of shoes are on this person? What kind of hat is that? Is that a swivel chair, is there a pattern on it? And in the aggregate of all that problem-solving you end up with a narrative that’s both bigger than, and intersecting with, the manifest narrative of people riding on a train or eating a meal or whatever."

Eisenman: "Somehow what’s happening in the picture gets eclipsed by the meaning of the accumulation of those objects and moments smooshed together. You can look at how those objects and things intersect with texture and structure to deepen the story."