June 1, 2022

Eisenman's People

         At the Yale Art Gallery last weekend, keeping my eyes open, as always, for relief block prints, I saw this piece by Nicole Eisenman.  The title of the piece seemed particularly fun: “Drippy Cloud Guy.”  However, a closer look reveals that the piece is officially Untitled, and a little research once I returned home revealed that most if not all of Eisenman’s prints are untitled.  Here are a few other things I learned.
        Nicole Eisenman (USA, b.1965) has received pretty much every possible big-name award including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur “genius award.”  She seems to have made a slew of prints, including wood block prints and a number of other printmaking techniques, in 2012.  (She is gender fluid and uses both she and they pronouns.)  I also discovered in the course of 
my quick research that, honestly, I am not much of a fan of most of her work.  I did, however, find these
 wood block prints that I wanted to share.
        To begin with the “drippy cloud guy,” I’m definitely tickled by the idea of lying on one’s back in the grass and drawing the raining clouds above.  Given Eisenman’s other work, I wouldn’t be surprised if this man is seeing the clouds as breasts and sketching accordingly, which probably Means Something.  Still, there’s a whimsy that appeals to me.
        The second piece definitely has whimsey, as a person and a bird give each other a peck (pun intended).  For some reason they both look quite surprised.  The skritches and 
scratches of texture add interest, especially combined with
 the color, which looks as if it’s probably painted in the background.
        The third person is quite intense, white eyes staring out of the red shadow.  The wood grain plays an important role, as does the gradation in the inking.
        And finally, another more whimsical person.  His eyes are pointing every-which-way like a cartoon, and although everything else is very simple, his ears have a beautifully detailed texture of fine arcs.  A colored background and variegated inking add a little dimensionality.  And most importantly, he has a friendly smile.

[Pictures: Untitled (Drippy Cloud Guy), woodcut by Nicole Eisenman, 2012 (Image taken by AEGN at Yale University Art Gallery);
Untitled, woodcut by Eisenman, 2012;
Untitled, woodcut by Eisenman, 2012 (Images from Koenig & Clinton);
Untitled (for Parkett 91), woodcut by Eisenman, 2012 (Image from Parkett).]

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Interesting work.