Inka Essenhigh, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2017, enamel on canvas, 32 x 80".

Inka Essenhigh

Miles McEnery Gallery | 22nd Street

Inka Essenhigh, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2017, enamel on canvas, 32 x 80".

When I come across a work of art as weird and seductive and startlingly beautiful as an Inka Essenhigh painting, I haven’t the faintest desire to engage my critical faculties. I just want to be overcome by the supple, erotic strangeness of her surrealist narratives; the chitinous sheen of her works’ surfaces; her Prada-meets–Star Trek palette; and the gelatinous, ectomorphic figures. You want to dissolve into an Essenhigh painting, in the same way that she dissolves virtually all solidity within her forms and spaces. Every body, every thing looks as though it’s made of melted caramel, or flowing silk, or liquid latex suspended midair, or some sinuous, alien protein.

For more than twenty years, Essenhigh has been building her peculiar universe, gently pushing into more visceral realms. Earlier works, from about 1999 to 2001, feature fluid yet stringent lines that usher flat planes

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