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Nicole Eisenman: 21st Century Expressionism

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Stephen Knudsen reflects on the paintings of Nicole Eisenman who recently won the Carnegie Prize at the 2013 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh.

Knudsen writes: "Eisenman’s buffoonery, irony and satire rises above empty jokes… [her] work is respectful to its early 20th-century roots by not making formal aspects of painting into a joke. She mixes in 1920’s formal debauchery into her strong compositions and skill in rendering. It comes down to the old but useful cliché: Knowing how to draw informs good distortion. It is worth noting that she preaches what she practices. For example, she held a figure-drawing atelier at the 2012 Whitney Biennial in which a hundred volunteers drew nudes from direct observation. Eisenman exercises those skills in Expressionistic idiosyncrasy: soul bearing, reckoning with absurdity, and acknowledging the joy, pain, embarrassment and ecstasy of being human."

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