The gallery is pleased to announce Her, the first New York solo exhibition by Berlin based, English born artist Guy Rusha.
Combining both wit and admiration, seriousness and flippancy, Guy Rusha takes the art historical idea of male artist painting women as his point of departure. In his painting and sculpture it seems that he explores elements of traditional European portraiture in an effort to more simply and clearly present Her. To follow, for instance, his application of paint from painting to painting – now thick and heavy, now almost rude in its casual sparseness – is to sense Rusha’s attentiveness and curiosity for how an image comes from, and into, material, and the ways in which oil paint records the precariousness of this resolution.
Across the paintings facial features often disappear to become hardly more than planes of dewy pink, elsewhere a figure’s contour merges and dissolves into its ground. Out of these planes specific details might be homed in on, and not least those that serve to describe her femininity: red lips protrude, exaggerated in colour and size; a large gold earring glints or maybe a bright hair clip. These details seem almost deliberately stereotypical; they seem to be betraying a boyish gaze: boy looking at girl, young man looking to the artists that went before him. There is a sense that Rusha is testing what the minimal elements necessary for defining Her might be, or more so perhaps, his imagined ideal of Her.
Like the title of the exhibition, which positions the identity of his subject at the edge of naming and knowing, Rusha’s images are at once vague and present, generalised and specific. The viewer is provided with no explicit indication of time, place or narrative to use as an entry point. Throughout the exhibition, in each work and in the space between them, similar questions thus loom: ‘Who is she?’ ‘Is it the same woman in each painting?’ ‘Just what is he chasing? A person? An image? A sensation?’
Because the way a painting’s history becomes a stand in for the history of painting, under Rusha’s watch painting is upheld as a durable time-based medium, a sensitive and accurate visual record of the interplay between decision-making, influence and intuition, and an increasingly rare activity in which revision is an act of both preservation and making.
Guy Rusha studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London as well as the British School at Athens, Greece. Rusha has exhibited in galleries throughout London and Berlin.