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.