Gina Beavers | Pastel Looks

June 23 - August 5, 2022

On view at Marianne Boesky Gallery | New York

509 West 24th Street, New York, NY


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Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Pastel Looks, an exhibition of new works on paper by Gina Beavers.


With these works, Beavers continues her examination of the performative nature and myopic self-obsession of social media, particularly within the phenomenon of makeup tutorials. Beavers sources imagery and inspiration from Instagram, YouTube, and other online sources for her drawings, mimicking stills from make-up tutorials as well as images that reference “food porn” photography and the proliferation of consumer culture. The use of pastels references both a commonly recognized tool in Western artmaking and an online genre of makeup techniques called “pastel looks;” thus the title of the show acts as a double entendre that both indicates and enacts the collapse of language into meme-ready sound bites.


While Beavers has begun to re-engage with pastels as a medium in recent years, drawing has always been fundamental to her practice, as its immediacy parallels the rapid-fire rush of content on social media. Although her works on paper are inspired by various art historical sources––from Degas’s pastels to Wayne Thiebaud’s illustrative renderings of quotidian objects––they retain formal elements reminiscent of Beavers’s own high-relief acrylic paintings. As in her painting practice, the artist employs a process of layering, rubbing away, building up, and shading to create illusionistic depictions of the source photograph or video still. Paralleling some of the repetitions found within her work, Beavers presents multiple variations of the same source material in Pastel Looks, which, ambiguously, can either stand alone as individual works, or form a serial grid with adjacent works.


With Pastel Looks, Beavers joins process, form, and content into an evocative and uncanny reflection of the endlessly self-referential nature of the online word. “How can a painting (or a drawing) as a body represent the aspirations, the frailties, the pompousness, and the anxieties of our online selves,” said Beavers.