"The Dissapearance" - Alisa Margolis @ Galerie Judin

Text and pictures by Cyrus Smith

One thing is certain when you walk into "The Disappearance" at Galerie Judin. Alisa Margolis can clearly paint. This is definitely a painting show for painters. But her works delve deeper than the lusciously colorful surfaces of explosive paint. They appear to say a lot in their silence. 

At first glance the overwhelming presence of flowers in her work makes you wish they were scratch and sniff paintings, hoping they could intoxicate yet another of the senses. Actually, they are almost entirely depictions of flowers, or near suggestions thereof. The irony being delivered here isn’t lost - the hegemonic gender codes represented are being enacted grotesquely en mass. The pretty things a female artist is expected to create, ‘sugar and spice’ as it were. The art world has seen a history of gender-role-smashing anarchists, however Margolis’ approach is refreshing as it is not so much rammed down your throat, rather subtly suggested.

These are large, but not intimidating paintings, awash with beautiful color, and plenty of action. Margolis is a fearless painter, as is evident in her determined albeit, posed casual brushstrokes. The development of her work takes multiple stages, and what appears as a final step is often an editing using black. However the evidence of her process is not lost with regressive over painting, rather the black serves to outline or define the world underneath, dissolving the underpainting to exemplify the current image. Encapsulating some key moments in her color assembly. The black in some of these works can be seen as monstrous, or aggressive when placed against such a palette of brilliant color; a fitting counterpart to these effeminate archetypes.

The exhibition as a whole is as loud as it is quiet. This is an exciting feature of Margolis’ work. There is an ingrained dialogue between fore and background, movement and stature, representation and obscurity, or beauty and the repugnant. The result is the feeling of insecurity. The viewer is left feeling unsure if they are correct in their assumptions, which is admittedly more successful than a giant billboard of intention. Go see for yourself.

Exhibition runs to April 19th

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