Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Jackie Gendel: Rose Madder and the Ultramarines, an exhibition of new paintings.
Combining the names of two vibrant pigment hues, Rose Madder and the Ultramarines could refer to members of a gang, a rock band, or a group of feminist paramilitaries. Gendel chose the title to reflect the social drama within her figurative compositions and the material exploration inherent in her painting process.
Linking all of the work is the artist’s concentration on all-over composition and color. Some of the paintings are overt in their depiction of a figure or scene, while others veer toward total abstraction. The paintings suggest an elusive narrative, in which the figure/ground relation that establishes the identity of the subjects is also that which disguises them. Gendel moves almost effortlessly between painting modalities, using painting both as code and material experimentation.
In Bande à Part, Gendel continues her riff on the genre of portraiture. A confident figure in uniform holds a rifle, with two figures close behind. Other than the figure in the foreground, all compositional hierarchies collapse among the broken brushwork covering the surface. In developing the painting, Gendel referred to a recruiting photograph of three American Marines, but, like most of her figures, the identity of the subjects is lost to the fluid nature of the paint, generating alternative perceptions of who, what, where and when.
In Red Beret, a standing figure is camouflaged by layers of opaque paint over an abstract field. Pink designates the "red beret", a delicate bit of whimsy to offset the elaborately colored composition. The figure, who could be male or female, is both hidden and revealed, its face peering toward the viewer. Gendel’s mining of various source materials (portraits from different eras, New Wave films, found photographs or depictions of her friends) inspires this exploration of identity.
This is Gendel’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and featured in exhibitions at the New York venues Artists Space, Apex Art, White Columns and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her paintings are in the collections of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and the Progressive Corporation. She has been an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and in Florida at Fountainhead and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Gendel lives in New York.