Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Marilyn Minter @ Salon 94

I like both Marilyn Minter shows. What is not to like about fogged up glass with drops of water, and glimpses of naked women on the other side who occasionally lick the glass. It is over-the-top work that goes for the eyeballs hard. The work is photorealistic to the point where I am not always sure what I am looking at, so even the technique is wonderful. The apparently naked women appear out of the soft, lovely haze of what is hard not to imagine as a shower door, giving the work feel of very respectable erotica, the kind of thing one might feel comfortable displaying on a coffee table. Yet still holds the genuinely erotic charge of actual pornography.

I haven’t always enjoyed Minter’s work, but these paintings are both stylistically tamer and more sexually confrontational than in the past, where, shiny high heels, colorful gaping lips and suggestive food all clearly carried an erotic charge without the overt sexual content that would directly link pictures to pornography. The lack of actual nudity allowed the artist and the viewer a plausible deniability as to how base the enjoyment of Minter’s work is.

But for me, the real attraction of the new images is Minter tempering her tendency to gaudiness. I enjoyed how the steely blue-purple palate of flesh, glass and steam tamper down the new work while being as seductive as anything going on in the paintings. Making the work, for my taste a tad easier to look at than in the past. One could make a convincing case for the earlier work being more complex and challenging, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a certain degree of prettiness when I am viewing paintings.


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