Jane Bowles - Lévy Gorvy
Model standing in front of Jutta Koether's Jane Bowles painting

Jutta Koether's painting Jane Bowles, 1983

Jane Bowles


Oil on canvas
10 1/16 x 10 1/16 inches (25.5 x 25.5 cm)
© Jutta Koether
Courtesy Lévy Gorvy and Galerie Buchholz

Jane Bowles (1983) dates to Koether’s early years in Cologne. Intimately sized, like ritual objects or fetishes, her paintings of the 1980s bear witness to her search for alternatives to both standard narratives of modernism and then-dominant models of neo-expressionism.Seeking other ways to be, and to be as an artist, she looked to esoteric and dissident modes, like Surrealism, the landscape paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, and the late work of Philip Guston, “sipping” them, so to speak—as the title of two paintings in the exhibition, Some Esoteric Sipping (1986), proposes. Named after the defiant, genre-bending playwright, Jane Bowles depicts a landscape of fragmented body parts: two knees and a triangular configuration of limbs, punctuated by a pair of red circles that resemble eyes or nipples. Its brushy impasto and skin-toned palette—typical of Koether’s work from this period—emphasize the materiality of paint, here presented as a metaphor for flesh. Dense and deliberately crude, its surface effects a sense of spatial compression—one that would relent in the mid-to-late 1980s through lighter, more liquid applications of paint. Held between abstraction and figuration, Jane Bowles transforms the canvas into a suggestive, corporeal terrain.


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