Judith Eisler


The Unconscious Has A Reputation is comprised of 3 recent paintings by Judith Eisler. The paintings are made from photographs taken by Eisler, photographs taken of scenes from videos of various films. The images chosen from the films do not directly reference their sources, but instead, explore the space, gestures and textures found in Eisler’s incessant acts of looking.

The use of various media – cinema, video, photography, and painting – as filters of representation, allows Eisler’s images to reconfigure as visual experience. Distinctions between public and private, original and copy, are blurred. The provenance of individual images becomes irrelevant. The world of cinema is recast as a private dream theater. A tension between the representational and the abstract further recreates each “frame” as an existential experience.

Any new narrative, that may emerge, implicates the viewer as much as the artist: it is open, subject to chance, misapprehension, desire. A cinematic uncanny has the distinction of being for one and for all. Eisler’s paintings imply both vertigo and a sense of voluptuousness, culled from the ground zero of the eye as it gazes at a world archive of images.

The three paintings on view, MF (Girl On A Motorcycle), Gesture (Jazz On A Summer’s Day), and Back (The Tin Drum), present a loose sequence involving female protagonists. Hints of erotic frisson articulate each of the paintings, with modalities of passivity, aggression, and allure. The erotic, in Eisler’s paintings, is understood as a process. It has a history, a history perceived through film, memory, association, as well as an immediate existence, a present tense of space. The paintings swing between psychic narrative and painterly abstraction in a manner that creates movement and contemplation. With images that could be understood as melancholic and foreboding (as well), Eisler’s handling of paint displays technical bravura and playfulness; it is a fine line between illusionism and abstraction.
Bernard Yenelouis