Lyons Wier Gallery
542 W 24th St, New York, New York 10011
On view 1/8 – 2/7
Reviewed by: Angela Gram
Michelle Doll’s solo exhibition “Between Love and Me” at Lyons Wier Gallery is impressively bold and delicately introspective. Four large scale paintings dominate the gallery with vigorous brushstrokes and areas of lively color, yet they announce the quiet beauty and depth of personal intimacy, vulnerability, and tactility. It is this tension between the subject matter and scale of Doll’s work that makes these pieces especially intriguing. Her looming human figures engulf the viewer. They impose moments of physical and psychological exposure and thereby transcend the reality of such private experiences.
Doll reenforces her concept through a unique and technically adept use of materials. Her visceral brushwork and use of exposed underpainting are most successful when they interrupt the extremities of flesh and fracture each figure into a half rendered, nebulous space. Here Doll’s figures, while embodying the tactile and vulnerable, narrate an innermost void of uncertainty that must be bridged within human relationships. This can be most effectively seen above in “Couple(AJB3)”, where a man and woman embrace. When his hand meets her arm it becomes a tenuous moment and his body slowly recedes into obscurity. Is he less physically present because of insecurity? Or perhaps he is open to understanding his partner without boundaries.
By observing the sensuality and complexity of such personal experiences, Michelle Doll stands in a timeless and universal dialogue of navigating one of humanity’s most powerful emotions. “Between Love and Me” successfully asserts these values and refreshingly contrasts amidst a general cultural landscape of dwindling artistic authenticity.