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Judith takes a break

26 Oct

Ah, something contemporary.   I needed a change.

Elisa Johns, “Judith’s Return to Bethulia,” 2010, Oil on canvas, 66 x 44 inches, Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, NY, USA

Elisa Johns,”Judith,” 2010, Oil on canvas, 28 x 20 inches, Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, NY, USA

“There is a sincerity in my homage to the feminine. Yet this reverence is balanced by wit and calculated humor. My characters’ sexuality or lack of it is explored. I am interested in executing paintings that break with irony and instead sincerely embrace glamour. However, some depictions of beauty take on a more ominous tone. Critique is located in the fantastic, the absurd, the parody; it is also located in the power of propagating one’s own myth: narcissism.”

Elisa Johns

ART KNOWLEDGE NEWS, NEW YORK, NY, April 9, 2010 – Mike Weiss Gallery presents Huntress, an exhibition of new oil paintings on canvas by Los Angeles based artist Elisa Johns. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery. Inspired by iconic heroines of myth and history, Johns’ women are updated contemporary versions in an excessively glamour- driven society. Tipping her hat to illustrators of fashion, her figures set in luxurious landscapes are depicted in light washes and embellished with painterly impasto.

An integral figure in this series of work is the biblical heroine Judith. Judith, a decidedly bold widow who has inspired works by Giorgione, Gustav Klimt and Lucas Cranach the Elder, is depicted in Elisa’s work as a willowy assassin…

Yes, here we have Judith as a 21st century avenger.   She looks like a light-weight … an anorexic fashion model, someone incapable of lifting a sword.   Yet there she reclines next to the head of the offending General – his blood mingling with the juice of the pomegranates she has consumed.   Both fruit and head are fleshy and ripe and oozing with deep, red juice.   The scene is lushious and decadent – with fruit and severed head both thrown aside.

Strange.   Pomegranates always remind me of Witches of Eastwick, in which Sukie is riddled with pain by the manipulation of a pomegranate – the fruit that resembles her diseased uterus in shape and size and color.   I had never seen a pomegranate before that movie.  The sight of one still makes me squirm with the unpleasant concept of a bloody womb.   The abundance of seeds is especially disturbing.

I tend to prefer avocados.  Lots of green.  And one large nut.

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Story

 

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