Painting historically has four subjects: history, the portrait, the still life and the nude. Alice Schneider attends to two of these—the still life and the nude—using drippy gray paint on canvas but also silhouetted performers in videos. Resemblance transpires with the photographic motion studies of Thomas Eakins, the impossibly narrow sculpted figures of Giacometti, the coldly observed bathers of Degas and the simple flowers of Van Gogh. What makes Schneider’s take on these themes contemporary rather than modernist? It isn’t just the computer screen that appears in one witty video, where a man sits stiffly at a desk furnished by still life paintings of tables and lamps; it is a broader sensibility that might be characterized as feminist. Schneider takes the women of the past—all those odalisques and bathers—women continuously objectified to one end or another, and embraces them not only with current technology but also, and more importantly, with care and respect.
—Lori Waxman 11/29/15 10:33 AM