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.
Gina Beavers (b. 1974; Athens, Greece) holds a BA in Studio Art and Anthropology from the University of Virginia (1996), an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2000) and an MS in Education from Brooklyn College (2005). She served as an Adjunct Professor for Grad Studio in the Columbia MFA program in the 2019/2020 school year. She currently lives and works in Orange, New Jersey. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at galleries including Marianne Boesky, New York; Michael Benevento, Los Angeles; GNYP Gallery, Berlin; Carl Kostyal, London, and Milan; Various Small Fires, Seoul among others. In March 2019, MoMA PS1 opened Beavers’ first solo museum exhibition, Gina Beavers: The Life I Deserve. Her work has also been included in group presentations at Lehman Art Gallery, the Barns Art Center, Kentucky Museum of Contemporary Art, Louisville; Nassau County Museum of Art, New York; Flag Art Foundation, New York; William Benton Museum of Art, Connecticut; and Abrons Art Center, New York. Exhibitions of her work have been reviewed in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Frieze, Artforum, Art in America among others. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the ICA Miami, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.