Vanessa Conte's new paintings and drawings of the female body subjected to unidentifiable forces and faceless domination. Amidst a tumultuous time when the female body is politicized, celebrated, shamed, and...
Vanessa Conte's new paintings and drawings of the female body subjected to unidentifiable forces and faceless domination. Amidst a tumultuous time when the female body is politicized, celebrated, shamed, and reclaimed in public discourse, Conte’s work poses questions about the vulnerable shell of the human form, its disposition to surrender to impulses of human nature and depravity, and our reactions as bystanders, voyeurs, and, at times, participants. In her comics-style drawings and paintings, Conte deploys humor in depicting desire and lust alongside physical brutality and humiliation to discomfit the viewer’s emotions and subvert the moralistic and philosophical ties to her body. Conte has explored formlessness and the body in her work via surrealism throughout her career. In recent years, these investigations have developed into more personally driven, figurative, sexual narratives of women whose bodies have been pushed toward the edge of destruction by the human hand and natural phenomena. Inspired by corporal punishment fetish fiction and Baroque and Romantic painting and sculpture—particularly Gentileschi, Bernini, and Goya—Conte aims to express a personal longing for the limitations of the human body, and a desire to locate her agency in physical and emotional submission to it.
Dissonant Healing, curated by Balthazar Lovay, Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zurich, Switzerland, 7 June - 26 July 2019. To The Torrid Sea I Fall, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, USA, 17 March – 18 April 2018.