Almine Rech New York is pleased to present a group show by Jenny Brosinski and Cristina De Miguel. The exhibition will be on view from March 9 to April 22, 2023.
Cristina de Miguel and Jenny Brosinski both work intuitively, allowing their respective movements in the studio to define a painting. Working large-scale, they are separated by the Atlantic Ocean, de Miguel in New York and Brosinski in Berlin, and while they met once at an exhibition in Paris, are uncannily in sync. Each respective practice relies on contemplation and thoughtfulness, but the marks when made, happen fast and without room for error. The artists approach to painting is personal —a phantom limb of sorts and a way to engage with moments of abstraction and figuration.
In Cristina de Miguel’s work bodies are crouching, stretched, leaning, stumbling, and often disproportionate in many ways. This is part of the artist’s agenda, she wants to disrupt the form and what is expected. For this new series of paintings on view in the exhibition, de Miguel has focused more closely on hands and feet. These parts of the body, appendages, are often too big or too small to make sense. A hand may stretch outward towards an invisible viewer, its owner is behind a blur of loosely defined forms, made with swirls of acrylic, oil paint, and oil stick. The oil sticks are a tool for drawing, erasing (by way of coloring over), and layering gestures on the surface. De Miguel’s genderless figures exude energy even in the two-dimensional space of a stretched canvas. While the depth of field is shallow the bodies appear to be floating but also are grounded to some extent, through proposed sky or earth. The artist occasionally uses friends and even herself as recurring subjects but for the most part relies on invention. Identifiable signifiers such as a black splash of paint as hair can be seen across two paintings, a self referential motif. Faces have been loosely modeled, eyes just subtle smears, and a nose defined by its proposed shadow. Only in one painting, Two Figures in Red (2023) does one of the featured subjects look directly out of the canvas into our world. She is fearless, much of how de Miguel approaches the making process, not afraid of mistakes and with the confidence and belief that the decision made in a particular moment is the right one.
Jenny Brosinski’s paintings excavate a long history of abstraction, specifically as defined by the Abstract Expressionists. Rather than fill the canvas as de Miguel does, Brosinski leaves much of the raw canvas exposed. Painted areas occasionally interrupt the surface with traces of gestural marks —brush strokes that make an unidentifiable shape, spray from a can, or cut collaged elements that art part of the composition. Working large-scale, Brosinski focuses on conceptual harmony and uses whatever means necessary to arrive at a finished product. Her language around the work references Rauschenberg’s combines, however even with an eye in the past, it feels incredibly fresh. The paintings can be contained inside stretchers, extended onto a nearby wall, or even appear as a sculpture, as she conspicuously inserts objects into a space, an employed methodology to transport painting into the gallery. Such is the case with Mr. Krinkle (2022) a stone rendering of a horse. Raised on hind legs, Mr. Krinkle stands almost three feet tall. It balances on a short yet sturdy tail, the type that might appear on a My Little Pony figurine. It’s important for Brosinski to utilize relational aesthetics in her work. In this instance the horse is anthropomorphic, the size of a small child. It stands out but is also hidden just below eye-level, an interruption at home wherever it happens to be placed.
Abstraction and figuration are longtime bedfellows, but with these two artists we are reminded of the ever present need to move the dial forward. The language of painting has been around for centuries and de Miguel and Brosinski are finding ways to make it completely and uniquely their own.
- Katy Diamond Hamer, Writer