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Lisa Yuskavage (American, born 1962)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American painter. She studied at Tyler School of Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where she was awarded her BFA in 1984, and completed her MFA in 1996 at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT. Her paintings address the female body and notions of internalized misogyny, both in the artist and the viewer. Her Bad Baby I (1991; see A. America, lxxxi, June 1993, p. 103) shows a depersonalised and sexualised child figure, painted in hot lollipop colours. Making a link between the visual pleasures of modernist aesthetics and the scopophilic instincts of pornography, Yuskavage’s paintings present figures undergoing a form of violation (cultural as well as sexual and visual) in front of an implicated viewer. She often uses misogonystic forms well-worn through their cultural usage to show the objectification within the familiar, as in Blond, Brunette and Redhead (1995; see R. Brooks article). Using exaggerated naked figures with gigantic breasts and buttocks, they offer no resistance to visual mastery by the viewer, but actively encourage it. This over-visibility is taken to a monstrous height in Motherfucking Rock (1996; see Artforum, xxxv, February 1997, p. 89) a painting among a series where the figure is distended and mutated into a tragi-comic version of desire. In the late 1990s Yuskavage made her work more realistic, working directly from a model but retaining the forcefully enlarged breasts. The soft hues and tones of these newer paintings are reminiscent of a classical Renaissance tradition, as in True Blond at Home (1999; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 223).

Francis Summers
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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