I Don't Believe It. I Won't Let It Happen.
Press Release PDF
We are pleased to announce Judith Eisler’s third exhibition at the gallery. The title of this show is appropriated from subtitles accompanying a shot of Isabelle Huppert in the 1982 Jean-Luc Godard film Passion.
Eisler’s oil on canvas paintings are typically based on photographs she captures from her television screen while watching films. When photographing a film Eisler is drawn to moments of near abstraction and the structural effects of light. In her most recent works, Eisler has broadened her source material to include her own photographs of digital films from YouTube played on a computer screen, and photographs of film projections.
I use the camera in a manner that is perhaps similar to a police photographer photographing a crime scene…pausing the fleeting moment allows me to investigate an incident that is otherwise peripheral and not immediately discernable…I am interested in the tension that develops from the juxtaposition of the recognizable and the abstract, and how new narratives arise from the illusory nature of the painted surface. I want to pull a peripheral moment out of the intent and flow of the narrative so that it conveys a presence or implication that vibrates beyond the perceived form.
[Judith Eisler quoted in The Painting of Modern Life, (London: The Hayward Gallery, 2007), page 169.]
The subjects of Eisler’s most recent works are all men, rebellious icons and outlaws. The largest works in the show are three paintings of Johnny Thunders, the lead guitarist for The New York Dolls, an influential punk group based in New York during the 1970s. The paintings are blurred depictions of Thunders, backstage before a performance, in silvery blues and grays that are the results of black and white film translated and distorted through digital media and the computer screen.
John is a dark painting of a prone man in foreshortened perspective, reminiscent of Andrea Mantegna’s iconic Dead Christ (1480-90). The painting is actually based on Andy Warhol’s first film, Sleep (1963), which Eisler surreptitiously photographed in a museum exhibition. Sleep is an 8 hour projection of several static shots looped together of the poet John Giorno as he slept.
A large diptych titled Double Alain is based on two different frames from the 1968 film Girl on a Motorcycle of Alain Delon riding a motorcycle. One image is painted from a digital photo, the other is painted from a 35mm photo. The abstractions inherent in the differing technologies are made apparent by their close proximity to one another. Eisler has worked from this film many times in the past, and this painting represents an important development in her work, by literally taking as her subject the subtle shifts as a film progresses, frame by frame.
This exhibition will remain on view through Saturday, November 15 at 138 Tenth Avenue (between 18th and 19th Streets), Tuesday through Saturday from 10 – 6 pm. For more information or images please call 212.206.8710 or log on to www.cohanandleslie.com