Amy Sillman艾米·希爾曼 - Lévy Gorvy
Scale view of Amy Sillman's painting Cliff 1, 2005

Detail of Amy Sillman's painting Cliff 1, 2005

Amy Sillman

Cliff 1, 2005
懸崖1, 2005年作


Oil on canvas
72 1/16 x 59 13/16 inches (183 x 152 cm)
油彩 畫布
183 x 152 厘米 (72 1/16 x 59 13/16 吋)
© Amy Sillman

Making paintings for me is liminal: not quite-known, coming-into-being, not-yet- seen, being-remembered. —Amy Sillman

Amy Sillman arrived at painting as a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York in the late 1970s, when the medium had been largely disavowed in critical circles and took on a subversive aspect. Her mature work emerged in the mid-1990s, rooted in drawing and an exploration of the cartoon line, which oscillated, in her signature palette of pastel and acidic hues, between figure and landscape. The mid-2000s saw the artist take a rigorous turn: She began to deploy the gestures of AbEx and Art Informel as a way to transgress and demythologize the legacies of those movements while exploiting their languages. As art historian Mark Godfrey has identified, Sillman “departed from the authentic gesture of midcentury and the emptied postmodern gesture [ . . . she] harnesses unknowability as an essential part of making art, but at the same time brings to her practice a profound knowledge of how to make, and fake, marks on canvas, how to navigate the histories and associations of those marks and control what impact they might have on viewers.”

With its fractured passages of zoomorphic forms and balmy gardenscapes, as well as its vertiginous gestural swoops and its vectored and diagrammatic lines, Cliff 1 (2005) is exemplary of this pivotal moment in Sillman’s career. Here, she deploys the gestural mode while making vivid her ambivalence about its use. She layers strata of pigment, complicating the distinctions between brushed areas of color and drawn lines, all in her singular palette, which curator Helen Molesworth has described as “an uneasy confluence of nature, domesticity, and the language of kitsch.” In a text Sillman penned for Artforum in late 2003, she wrote of the term apprehension—its dual meanings of anxiety and understanding —as it relates to painting: “I love a description I once heard of the act of painting as walking in a thick fog near a cliff.” Just over a year later, she exhibited the present work with a sister painting, Cliff 2 (2005), at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. These “irrational landscapes,” as she called them, reveal a mode of composing that is organic, contingent, and undetermined while it embraces subjective gesture.

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