Maria Lassnig: Painterly Versatility

Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt unter Plastik, 1972, oil on canvas (collection de B
Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt unter Plastik, 1972, oil on canvas (collection de Bruin-Heijn, photo copyright Peter Cox, courtesy of MoMA PS1)

Viktor Witkowski reviews a retrospective exhibition of works by Maria Lassnig at MOMA PS1, New York, on view through September 1, 2014.

Witkowski writes: "One of the traits of a great painter is her painterly versatility and Lassnig is no exception. From early monochromatic abstractions that are reminiscent of Ellsworth Kelly and Don Voisine, to fully fleshed figurations, and dozens of paintings that are located in between these two poles, her work defies any clear categorization and instills a sense of unhinged, but rigorously focused experimentation... Lassnig’s painting is as much a meditation on the multiple facets of ‘self’, as it is a close look at what constitutes a painting of the ‘self.’ Painting, it turns out, is a potent medium with limited faculties - not unlike the people and bodies it tries to depict. Our perception of ourselves and the world is as unreliable as it is indispensable. In this sense, painting - with its sensory and linguistic limitations - is an adequate medium to describe ourselves and the world we inhabit."