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Casey Kaplan opens its second solo exhibition with Judith Eisler
Installation view.

NEW YORK, NY.- Strange Weather Summer, Judith Eisler’s second solo exhibition with Casey Kaplan, presents a series of recent oil paintings on canvas that immortalize cinematic heroines from the artist’s generation. Eisler sources her subjects from 1970s - 1990s film and video, transforming moving images into tightly cropped portrait paintings that, through a multilayered process, offer a view into the psychology of an image.

Sean Young, sourced from Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction classic “Bladerunner,” is portrayed in profile. Bisecting the composition, Eisler integrates figure and empty space in a moiré pattern of blues, yellows and pinks. In process, Eisler photographs her subjects as they appear on her home monitor, mid-narrative. The camera produces a wavy distortion that the artist embraces and then prints onto a 4 x 6-inch sheet of paper. The printed image becomes a physical, hand-held object of reference that signifies a distinct transformation as Eisler takes possession of the image. The composition is then gridded, effectively distilling a moving image into individual segments that remove subject from context. Form breaks down into studies of color and light as Eisler puts paint to canvas.

The Pictures Generation (1974 - 1984) explored the deconstructed nature of a popular image as their point of departure. Artists such as Dara Birnbaum, Sarah Charlesworth, and Jack Goldstein utilize fragmentation, repetition and recontextualization to render body, object and perception as urgent and technically fraught. While the Pictures Generation artists appropriated universally popular media, Eisler approaches her subject matter through an internal contemplation of female icons relevant to her own experience.

Jane Forth, who gained notoriety as one of Andy Warhol’s teenage superstars, is featured in James Crump’s 2017 documentary film, "Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion and Disco.” Maintaining the authenticity of the image itself, Eisler’s portrait of Forth similarly upholds the subtle shades of red that permeate the seemingly black and white film still as a result of the printer’s output in rendering color. Uniquely sourced from a digital image rather than film, Chloë (2021) is a pixelated mosaic that, because the original is blown up beyond its intended context, serves as a tenuous structure that is both support and dissolution. The only subject to meet the viewer’s gaze, Chloë Sevigny’s inclusion stems from Eisler’s interest in a contemporary icon that occupies multiple identities on screen and in public.

Setting storylines and narrative-based dramas of origin aside, Eisler’s all-female cast is imbued with a renewed manifestation of emotion that exists in the space between abstraction and representation. Realities are transformed as painting uncovers the unexpected accounts that exist within a moment in time, a frame—a single image.

Judith Eisler (b. 1962, Newark, NJ) received her BFA from Cornell University in 1984. She has been exhibiting her work since 1995 at institutions globally including Kunsthalle, Vienna; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Aldrich, CT; Hall Art Foundation/Schloss Derneburg Museum, Hanover, Germany; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Bass Museum, Miami; Hayward Gallery, London; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. In 2002, she was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisler is a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, and lives and works between Vienna, Austria and Warren, Connecticut.

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