History and Passion in a Retrospective of Marlene Dumas’s Provocative Portraits
Widely known for the gestural quality and austerity of her oil and watercolor paintings, Marlene Dumas’s work confronts difficult themes from pornography to segregation. Her figurative paintings often depict nude bodies engaged in amorous acts, some of them erotic, some disconcerting. By playing with perspective and the proportionality of these figures, Dumas highlights only what is most important—the expression, the point of contact, the epicenter of emotion. Using as her starting point photographs from her personal collection and the print media, Dumas recreates them in grays and browns, a palette well suited for her 2010 exhibition "Against the Wall" at David Zwirner, in which she captures with characteristic starkness the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
South African, b. 1953, Cape Town, South Africa