More About this Item

Description: B. 1962

62 1/2 x 50 1/4 in. 156.3 x 127 cm.

oil on canvas

Painted in 1994.


Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Conversation, 1994, is a psychologically rich composition that renders one of Lisa Yuskavage's famed nubile females framed within an astonishing candy apple green and light blue sea of color. The sensuously rendered surface is a visual realization of Yuskavage's highly informed and sophisticated aesthetic. The elongated arm placed carefully over her loins and the proportional exaggeration of her derriere quotes freely from the art historical antecedent of Mannerism in the female figure; whereas the luminous sfumato-like setting poignantly recalls the style of the High Renaissance. Like the great Venetian painters, the masters of luminescence, Yuskavage finds in light and color the power to transform the visual image. Yet in typical contradiction, her voluptuous nymph in classical profile and seemingly quiet contemplation is rendered with the airbrushed perfection of a soft-porn magazine, lending the painting an unequivocally contemporary feel.

The composition also tends toward mixed subliminal messages regarding the content of Conversation. Initially, the young female appears to be alone and communing with nature, her eyes closed and her down-turned face a picture of serene modesty, begging the question of the dichotomy between image and the implied action of the title. The vibrancy of the color that animates the canvas denies this quietude and a closer inspection reveals the faint form of a rabbit in the lower corner of the painting -- an image that is more apparent in a related work but here is less visible, demanding further speculation. The viewer may wonder if this image is a suggestive projection of the female's conversation with herself or is her down-turned face directed toward this figure as the subject of her attention and conversation.
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