Jacqueline Humphries is an artist that paints big and bold abstract paintings. She’s work hard, paid her dues, and is finally starting to get the proper recognition. Her paintings are part abstract expressionist and minimalist with a hint of street art edge. Surprisingly because the paintings out-scale her physical demeanor and this dichotomy is the reason why her art demands discussion and attention.
Born in 1960 in New Orleans, Jacqueline also spent time in New York as a child. She escaped to Paris after her undergraduate years at Bennington College in Vermont. Eventually she made it back to New York City where she lives and works.
Open End, Vide Essence, Dirty Mind, Siren, Beat the Devil, 80s-90s, Black Monday, Untitled, and In the Back are examples of titles for Humphries’ work. Each title gives a hint to the motivation behind the finished piece. The viewer also gets a glimpse of Humphries’s psychological state and cynical sense of humor.
In a 2009 Cecily Brown interview for BOMB magazine, Humphries: “A complete refusal to depict ‘real things’ forces me to seek other ways of getting you on the hook, of making you feel included in the image or addressed by it. What I’m after is a kind of psychological hook, as if there’s almost suspense or a sense of something wrong. A kind of pictorial distortion. And I pull out those stops, the reflectivity and the disruption, to get across a pressure or urgency. There’s a kind of theatricality which may even veer toward the melodramatic.” As a result, the viewer is entertained and engaged. A feat that many artists attempt but fail.
Humphries’ In the Back is actually in the front of the art world.