Betty Tompkins: Virgins
March 30 – May 6, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 30, 6-8 PM
P.P.O.W is pleased to present Virgins, Betty Tompkins’ first solo exhibition with the gallery. A pioneering, feminist artist, Tompkins is best known for her direct depiction of the female body, sexuality, and sexual desire. The exhibition at P.P.O.W will include paintings never before shown in New York, including her monumental large-scale Fuck Paintings; a new installation of Pussy Paintings and a new series of works on paper.
Tompkins creates paintings, drawings and photographs that often take as their starting point images found in mainstream pornographic magazines, using them to create classically framed, carefully textured works. By subverting a genre typically associated with men and the submission of women, Tompkins reclaims the imagery, positioning the female body as a strong and powerful force. While much of Tompkins’ early work was under appreciated by contemporary art critics, her provocative and complex paintings have recently had a resurgence in recognition, and offer a timely response to the current political climate. Through her work with a subject matter that has often been considered taboo, Tompkins has created a platform to reframe female sexuality, and to powerfully reposition the female body.
The exhibition is inspired by photographs of sexual encounters, reframed to assert the position of the woman and the innate beauty and humanity of the moment being depicted. Among the works on view will be a grid of Tompkins’ Pussy Paintings, composed of nine works, as well as a series of new works on paper. On view in the main gallery will be a series of large-scale, hyper realistic Fuck Paintings, most of which have never been seen.
In advance of the exhibition, P.P.O.W will present a selection of rare vintage works by Tompkins created in the early 1970’s and 80’s at its booth at ADAA’s The Art Show, on view March 1-5, 2017, Booth #D29.
Opening on April 13th, the Viewing Room at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea will feature a new series of works on canvas by Betty Tompkins that experiment with color, the grid and images culled from pornography.
Betty Tompkins (b. 1945) lives and works between New York, NY, and Pleasant Mount, PA. Recent solo exhibitions include WOMEN Words, Phrases, and Stories, Flag Art Foundation, New York (2016); Sex Works/ WOMEN Words, Phrases and Stories, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Real Ersatz, FUG, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York (2015); Art Basel Feature, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Basel, Switzerland (2014); Paintings & Works on Paper 1972-2013, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL (2014); Woman Words, Dinter Fine Art, Project Room #63, New York (2013); Fuck Paintings, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2012); New Work, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York (2009). Tompkins’s work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas (2016); The Shell (LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS & SHAPES), Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France (2014); A Drawing Show, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (2014); CORPUS, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2014); A Chromatic Loss, Bortolami Gallery, New York (2014); Sunset and Pussy, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2013); Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011).