Critics’ Picks

Angela Dufresne, Golden Showers of Love Painting, 2019, oil on canvas, 9 x 12'.

Angela Dufresne, Golden Showers of Love Painting, 2019, oil on canvas, 9 x 12'.

New York

Angela Dufresne

Yossi Milo
245 Tenth Avenue
January 14–March 20, 2021

Angela Dufresne’s solo exhibition “Long and Short Shots” is a vision of a soft but salacious utopia full of unabashed living and endless love. Her flamboyant canvases are amalgams of various historical styles—Italian Futurism, Neue Sachlichkeit, and Abstract Expressionism, among others—that culminate in both large, complicated tableaux vivants and close-cropped portraits, mostly intimate in scale. Dufresne renders her figures as luscious, liquescent beings who virtually meld into one another and the spaces that they inhabit through palimpsest-like compositions shaped by sinuous lines and atmospheric colors—see, for instance, the gangly subject of Flaming Desire, 2020, a ghostly creature delineated in emerald and navy strokes that emerges from a field of orange, azure, gray, and lavender.

In some of the artist’s bigger canvases, such as the gargantuan, nine-foot-high and twelve-foot-long Golden Showers of Love Painting, 2019, we dive headfirst into a realm of polymorphous (and at times, incredibly awkward) perversity. This picture depicts a shimmering cityscape rendered in soothing blues and electric yellows. The work is overcrowded with jubilant characters—some skeletal, some masked—and strange events, including a monkey riding a dog and a woman resting a severed head atop a car. All of these are peripheral to the central (and titular) subject: several boys and a girl who urinate from a balcony into bowls held by people seemingly in the grips of ecstasy, as if the falling streams of piss were being preciously bestowed upon them. Dufresne’s translucent layering and expressions of motion in this marvelous piece evoke a kind of violent, hedonistic delirium that, no matter how off-putting, is always suffused by pleasure—especially of the painterly sort. Her phantasmagoric imagery calls to mind dreams, memories, and hallucinations. And like these psychic phenomena, her work feels as if it is forever undefinable, transitional—that is, utterly free.