New York

Lisa Yuskavage

Elizabeth Koury Gallery

This exhibition included both paintings and watercolors. In each of the paintings, a seductive, candy-colored monochrome field is inhabited by a single figure, creating a kind of imaginary portrait of a young girl. It’s really the color that hits first: saturated, lurid, aggressively confectionary—cloying hues that speak of manipulation, of some terrible abstraction from reality, of what your mother told you never to take from strangers. The figures seem to be surfacing from somewhere inside the field while remaining very much within its atmosphere.

Sometimes naked, sometimes partly clothed, these wan urchins—who seem to have been snatched out of some contemporary working-class suburb and, simultaneously, from 19th-century Symbolist images of pale innocents—exude a shameful consciousness of being looked at, of vulnerability before a sentimentalizing gaze that is also a

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