Deitch Projects [that was], New York, 2009.
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Francine Spiegel, Justine, 2008, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 32 inches, 101.6 x 81.3 cm
October 01, 2009 — October 31, 2009
76 Grand Street, New York
Francine Spiegel presents seven new paintings and a suite of photographs from a secret performance piece for her debut solo exhibition at Deitch Projects. During the opening Francine will enact one of her messy, sloppy performances titled Curse of the Century Old Egg in the storefront gallery that visitors can view from the street, shielded from the flying fluids by the front window.
Francine is a young painter living in upstate New York whose overall oeuvre seeks what Barbara Creed terms the “monstrous feminine.” Frankensteined together from the artist’s imagination and her hard drive, the fragmented females depicted in her paintings are half-alive and half-dead, half-confused and half-horny. Congealing researched imagery from monster magazines, horror films, or her own performances, Spiegel’s goo girls look like gory super-heroines. Their painted faces—scowling, screaming, or erased by a pie to the face—attract and repel like soggy Medusas.
To create imagery for the seven paintings in this exhibition, Francine choreographed one of the most extreme performances in the gallery’s history with ten volunteers from her community of artists and writers. The list of ingredients for the event included: 10 pounds of grits, 5 jugs of pancake syrup, 10 squirt bottles of grape jelly, 5 bottles of Pepto-Bismol, 20 buckets of tempura paint, 20 cans of whipped cream; plus silly string, shaving cream, Fruit Loops, flour, Kool-Aid, glitter, pie, marshmallow Fluff, fake arms, fake blood and chocolate syrup. These materials were researched from Fangoria Magazine’s behind-the-scenes horror movie ingredients and—incidentally—top Gunge websites that feature the best food fetish necessities. Taking the ingredients out of the male-manipulated world of porn and using them to make feminine and feminist works of art, Fran’s results were somewhere between the erotic and the horrible.
Pilfering this pulchritudinous photo archive to compose some of the seven paintings and also to give the viewer a glimpse of her previously private performance projects, Fran takes full control of her content in this exhibition. The photos and paintings in Mud and Milk show women scampering, towering, or whimpering as they form squeamish teams or piles. Whiny women from old Westerns, sad and dusty sunbonnets, depraved prairie girls and gawking goody-two-shoes: these are her pop culture female archetypes. Francine intensifies her collage approach by creating multiple “vignettes” within each canvas, scenes that link together, or moments that just miss each other. Highlighting both her cinematic sources and time-based performance style, this exhibition captures the layers of meaning—and pie filling—it takes to create one of Fran’s charged canvasses.
Francine Spiegel received her BFA from RISD in 1997 and has been featured in Mail Order Monsters, a traveling exhibition of monstrous figuration at Deitch Projects Summer 2008, and was included in Fractured Figure curated by Jeffrey Deitch for the DESTE Foundation, 2008. Her work is also featured in New York Minute at the MACRO FUTURE through November 2009.