07 Apr Courageous Living
Walking into Maria Lassnig’s retrospective at P.S.1 MoMA, one is immediately struck by a nude staring straight at you with a gun to her head as well as one pointed at you, the viewer. Thus begins a journey through the oeuvre of this most compelling artist who has had a remarkable 70 year career thus far and is the first woman to attain a position as professor of painting in Germany.
This artist utilizes a full sense of color, and the brightness of the hues sometimes belie the seriousness of her subject matter, which is almost exclusively composed of herself. Using the term “body awareness,” Maria Lassnig regularly paints the way her body feels to her from the inside rather than an outer depiction. Some canvases showing wild strokes of the brush are actually active pieces where the artist laid down on the surface and painted around her limbs and other body parts.
My favorite piece was a self-portrait that captures a longing stare at the viewer while her head is wrapped in plastic. Odd? Yes. Compelling? Absolutely. I couldn’t take my eyes away and returned to it several times while touring the exhibition.
The best surprise about a visit to the museum is a new policy that allows non-flash photography in all galleries. So now you can not only view the art but take the view home with you on your camera for continued rumination. What a treat!
See Maria Lassnig before it closes on May 25, 2014.