The Hole is proud to present a group exhibition of big women; in body or spirit--or both. Sixteen paintings fill our polka-dotted main gallery space ranging from emerging artists like the above work by Cristina Banban, to octogenarian Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Depictions of women that are large and in charge, over the top, big boned (whatever that means), the show includes loud and proud, Rubenesque, zaftig, powerful or pretty—but not petite.
Works like Koichi Sato’s bodybuilders or Gina Beavers' thick-lipped reliefs are loud and strong; Misaki Kawai and Monica Kim Garza paint the playful and unapologetic, Rebecca Morgan's self-portrait is frazzled and extreme, while Charlie Billingham crosses over into the repugnantly porcine. Jonathan Chapline makes a female nude very thick, like carved from chunks of wood thicc, while Todd James takes curves into a fantasy world of giant woman warriors.
Francine Spiegel paints a slopped up female emerging from sludge in the witchiest way; Vanessa Prager sculpts her women with the oil paint itself a few inches deep, a group of juicy nude ladies with just a hint of horribleness. Lastly, Eric Yahnker exhibits an oil pastel that is truly "extra," as the sitter has extra heads, extra mouths, extra tongues in an over abundance of eroticism.
Our large ladies summer show was inspired by interesting new figure paintings of women of larger and bolder shapes, and thinking about how the size of women’s bodies over time in the history of painting has been scrutinized. Even with current media burying painting under exponentially proliferating images of bodies, does painting still have an impact on what bodies people consider normal? I’ve been so pleased to see bodies like my normal appearing alongside thin or idealized ladies, but often in the painted world a diversity of bodies is the norm.
Without focusing too much on “extra large,” I became more interested in just “extra.” A slang term in the past decade for being too much, over the top, maybe a little bit trying too hard, or just too in your face, EXTRA is enough like a compliment that I am into it. Being a size extra large tall is an essay in and of itself on feeling like there is too much of yourself, but I personally am psyched to be in a show of similar scale. And tone, as of course I am aware that a lot of the shows I have curated in the past fifteen years have been...a bit loud. Hence, our polka-dotted walls, investigating what too-muchness can look like in exhibition design, and how paintings hold up on a busy and over-the-top wall. It is a lot - it may even be too much.