June 15, 2020
Nicole Eisenman’s fourth exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery presents 24 paper pulp drawings from a body of new works created in collaboration with renowned Dieu Donné workshop in Brooklyn. Dieu Donné is a non-for-profit institution that has long served the artist community through a collaborative approach to creating artworks using the process of hand papermaking.
The term paper pulp drawing doesn’t describe the full range of the process. These flat images are hybrids of drawing, painting and sculpting. Each work was painted with pigmented linen pulp directly into a cotton substrate during the papermaking process. Eisenman manipulated her materials in free-flowing skeins, painting with liquid pigment into the surface of the wet paper pulp while draining and drying, creating an image that is inseparable from its support. In addition, the artist added the occasional collage element to the surfaces.
Eisenman’s images are instantly legible and serve quite a punch, and it comes as no surprise to hear the artist refer to this body of work as “posters.” The immediacy of the image, the relationship between image and text, the contemporaneity of the subject matter, and Eisenman’s profound sense of humor demonstrate this point. Her inspiration evidently includes the language of movie posters, advertisements, the drawings of William Blake, and internet memes. Like posters, these works convey complex and oftentimes humorous thoughts through a simple image and concise phrase. Regardless of the intricacies of the paper pulp process, Eisenman has created images of crystal-clear immediacy and impact that push past any temporary promotion of an idea or event into the realm of more nuanced reflection.
Concurrently with the exhibition Incelesbian, Dieu Donné and Anton Kern Gallery are publishing a catalog of the complete set of Nicole Eisenman paper pulp works created over the past two years. The fully illustrated, 92-page book will include a text by Matt Longabucco.