What visions arise when we turn our gazes inward? “Inward” can mean into one’s region, one’s garden, one’s room, one’s body, one’s self, and the history of art is full of the results. After six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more contemporary artists than usual have generated their own answers to this question. Sonia Corina Ruscoe, living under quarantine in Brooklyn and at her parents’ home in upstate New York, is no exception. Her languorous acrylics and watercolors, painted on unstretched canvas, reveal a world full of snakes and nude women, potted and outdoor plants, much of it covered in all-over decorative motifs. Henri Matisse’s loose and lovely colored linework, as well as many of his pleasurable domestic subjects, are here. So, too, is Nikki de Saint Phalle’s boldly appreciative take on the female body, plus some of Yayoi Kusama’s obsessively detailed patterning. Why those references? I see them reflected pictorially, but also for the ways in which those famed artists turned masterfully inward, each for their own reasons. The results, like Ruscoe’s, reward viewing as much, perhaps even more so, from the outside.
—Lori Waxman 2020-09-30 1:41 PM