Helwaser Gallery is proud to announce our Emma Coyle: The Best Revenge, the first solo exhibition in New York by the Irish artist.
Emma Coyle (b. 1981) creates vibrant, graphic paintings of women that utilize the visual languages of advertising, magazines, and fashion. In this exhibition, Coyle will debut ten large-scale recent paintings of stylish, confident women.
Working in London since 2006, Coyle’s technicolor paintings reference — and depart from — the historic conventions of Pop Art. Through bold contours and pastel palettes, Coyle depicts her assured subjects posing for the viewer. Dignified and fashionable, these women are no longer reflected through the lens of the male gaze. While honoring Warhol, Wesselmann, and Rosenquist’s use of mass-media imagery and commercial techniques, Coyle offers colorful and optimistic icons of a brave future.
Coyle’s works embrace a tension between the painterly and the mechanical. Her retro-futurist images pop with bold, black outlines that evoke Japanese Manga panels or the floating worlds of ukiyo-e prints. In each painting, her influencers and models swagger and strut in a flat, monochrome world, commanding the picture plane and the viewer’s eye. Coyle’s figures are rendered flat and with minimal depth, edging the paintings into the realm of abstraction.
For instance, in 12.16.02, a model with a blond updo confronts the viewer’s gaze from behind orange sunglasses. Coyle’s subject tempts with a tuft of cotton candy, red lipstick, and mouth ever so slightly ajar. Coyle tightly crops the picture’s composition to enhance the visual energy and sense of drama. In Linda no. 3, Coyle offers a full-scale portrait of a woman in a lemon dress, with scarlet opera gloves and white heels, caught in a moment of defiant gesticulation. “Living well is the best revenge,” so an old proverb goes, a saying that Coyle’s subjects embody, refusing to be constrained by the male gaze.
Coyle’s paintings engage with Helwaser Gallery’s longstanding role as supporters and promoters of global Pop artists. Coyle’s work becomes a contemporary lens through which to more completely understand the historical implications of Pop Art.
Image: Emma Coyle installation views. ©Phoebe d'Hurle. Courtesy of the artist, and Helwaser Gallery, NY.
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