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 Lisa Yuskavage  (1962 - )

About: Lisa Yuskavage


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Lived/Active: New York/Pennsylvania      Known for: partially-clad female figure painting

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Lisa Yuskavage
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lisa Yuskavage graduated from Temple University and earned an M.F.A. from Yale University.  It is said that she has responded to this success by being "mildly naughty" and "using her exceptional facility to produce knowingly dreadful paintings." Her figures are grotesque young sexpots with bloated stomachs, described as "just: disturbing, repulsive, enticing, beautiful. And sexy?" Some think so.

Initially viewers may draw their attention to two noticeable things, noses and breasts, both exaggerated. The "obscenely plump-ness and sometimes purple nipples that strike the unsuspecting viewer as strange," but also the deformity of both. "The breasts are disturbingly lopsided: as one sticks up, protruding at an odd angle from the body, another droops down. . . ." Along with the noses, which are practically snouts.

The unequal proportions of Yuskavage's bodies are skewed, yet achieve balance. "Their organs may be distorted, but the relations between them -- especially between nose and breast -- enjoy a peculiar harmony."

Yuskavage's work is ambiguous, somewhere between fantasy and terrifying. Some have labeled her a feminist. Others perhaps more prudent, resist such an interpretation. As Lane Relyea writes, "To attribute a critical position to Yuskavage's canvases seems a cowardly response, like reining in outlaws by deputizing them." In the end, the only plausible position seems to be the one Yuskavage herself has alluded to: she creates her characters in order to kill her enemies. She is dealing with the wiles by which women negotiate for power.


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Lisa Yuskavage is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painters of Nudes

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