Long and Short Shots
With a riotous, wide-ranging style, Angela Dufresne’s canvases seem like a forgotten, half-mythic chapter of a particularly raunchy history. With their frenetic, almost in-motion strokes, the paintings bear more similarity to theater than to photography, printmaking, or even painting, the medium to which they belong. In the artist’s first solo show with Yossi Milo, “Long and Shot Shots,” the viewer pans through the scenes in search of narrative and the portraits in search of understanding, and are left mystified, yet satisfied.
Take, for instance, Examinations (2020), a monumental painting of an eerie, ghost-like crowd in which one can pick out an inventory of the strange and obscene: an upturned child carries a small, bleeding shark; a topless man slides down the balustrade in top hat while another, naked, swings from a rope; inexplicably, a lawnmower is at the foreground of the scene. Dufresne’s line work is unique: sketchy cobalt blue lines take on the dual role of both underpainting and shadow, and a yellow so golden as to feel like sunlight distilled floods some of these works.
As the exhibition’s title implies, the silver screen is a particular fascination for Dufresne. The actress Gena Rowlands makes multiple appearances in close-cropped shots, stricken with difficult-to-read—even changing—emotion.
Angela Dufresne, Actor, 2018. Oil on canvas, 20 x 18 inches. © Angela Dufresne, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.