Tag Archives: Marlene Dumas

Claudia Schreuders: In the bedroom

at Jack Shainman, 513 W. 20th St. (Chelsea), through June 22.

Sorry this is over by the time I got to it, but, too good to forego comments—do look for Schreuders at any opportunity:   

Recent examples of her characteristic (by now) stunted, polychrome wood figures were featured, along with related studies and a series of portrait heads on paper (lithos; ink drawings).  As per the show’s title (above), I read them (collectively) as stand-ins for somewhat ambiguous exposés, if not explorations, of Eros among prosaic-looking heteros, tangentially reminiscent of Charles Ray’s fiberglass familial figures of the 1990s. Her hand-carved-and-painted technique casts a Pinocchio vibe into her emptied Freudian “vessels.” But these slightly pasty-white boy-men and girl-women  are static and solemn in bearing and hue—in this sense, votive-like; but then, dedicated to what sort of being, idea or aspiration?  Only slightly Surrealist (some more than others), they point more so the mundane, rote nature of a range of sexual activities and passing musings about them than subconscious simmering vis-a-vis lack, need or fantasy.  

Now add some basics of the backstory: Schreuders’ acknowledged autobiographical subjects; her upbringing in Apartheid-era South Africa; her attendance at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (Cape Town), where Jane Alexander has had an influential pedagogical presence for decades, as her inter-species sculptural  creatures have, in the context of the atrocities of Apartheid (and otherwise), for the international art world.  All the more engaging. 

A group of washy, simplified portraits on paper were pointedly down-lifting (as my viewing companion put it)—the visages effectively, viscerally, conveying vulnerability and woundedness, reminiscent of those of Marlene Dumas, another precursor.

Claudette Schreuders, 2018.