Text by Tamara Jenkins
Both admired and censured for the in-your-face eroticism of her paintings of women, Lisa Yuskavage has emerged from the 1990s as one of the most important figurative artists working today. Called the “premier bad-girl artist” by The New York Times and lauded in The New Yorker as “an extravagantly deft painter,” Yuskavage is known for her oil paintings, loaded with color and emotional content, featuring languid young women with outlandish body parts. The small paintings that make up this book, the first monograph of her work, are often the place where the characters from the artist's larger works come alive. Exploratory in nature, these paintings provide us with a uniquely intimate look at Yuskavage's creative process—allowing us to see how they have been a method of working for more than 20 years. Writer and director Tamara Jenkins's introductory essay is a work of biography and psychoanalysis, offering an up-close look at the forces behind her work. At once sexist and feminist, real and surreal, unsettling and seductive—and always technically accomplished—Yuskavage's work continues to generate buzz and controversy.