Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dana Schutz at Petzel

Dana Schutz’s Imagine Me and You at Petzel
By Lizzy Lunday

When viewing artworks, I generally follow a routine of scanning the room before going up to a piece that interests me for further inspection. This closer look is where the magic lies in Dana Schutz’s exhibition Imagine Me and You. Schutz’s ability to create large, thick, gestural strokes, while still controlling color was truly mesmerizing to me. As I look back at images of these paintings from afar, I find myself moderately disinterested in the content of the work, because to me its purpose is mainly to serve as a foundation for Schutz to lather her painterly skills upon. The smallest piece, Touched, is a portrait of such thick paint application that you wonder if you’ve ever seen paint applied so thick in your life. To further highlight the dense, sculptural use of paint from a straight-on view, she fingers out four holes where the nipples of the figure would be. The paint is applied exquisitely, whereas the figure itself could be considered unappealing. This dynamic between the ugliness of the figures and the skillful way in which they are painted is perhaps the basis of their appeal.


  1. I agree with Lizzy about the fascination for her technical ability over her images. However I assume that both issues complement each other. In my opinion, Schulz's painting works like a game of forces and contradictions where she offers us a poisoned apple. She presents that personal world of childlike appearance, with puppets and absurd situations and yet she does it with a firm gesture and an unbreakable determination. With this strategy between the apparent innocence of her images and her fierce expressiveness, she enforces the strength of her message, destabilizing us by placing us in an ambiguous space that makes us question our convictions as spectators. In what world do we live? What is beautiful? What is painting?

  2. I agree with your visual analysis of Schutz’s paintings painterly effects. Schutz’s works evoke the idea of violence and the artist’s aggressive process of making those artworks through the thick and vibrant color of brush strokes. Also, this visual element brings out the emotional reaction to the viewer. I want some more information about the influence of those issues. It is quite clear that Schutz’s strong and strange paintings lead the viewer to think about not only just what’s going on inside of the painting, but it also brings out the message of social issues. So, as additional factors for your review, it might be better to describe more about how her works bring out the message to the world and how it related to the visual content of her painting.