June 13 – September 7, 2014
Curator: Sarah Fillmore
Throughout her career, Marion Wagschal has explored the human figure. As a young artist she was concerned with Biblical themes, creating portraits of figures such as Abraham and Isaac. At the same time, she was absorbed by portraying the intimate moments occurring at family gatherings; not the monumental but the everyday. The human body is never idealized or romanticized in Wagschal's work. Her figures are wrinkled, aged and tired, signifying the artist's refusal to adopt the Greek and Renaissance ideal of beauty and perfection or contemporary society's obsession with cosmetic perfection. Works such as Backyard (1974) and The Birthday Party (1970) reflect this, depicting the characters in family events with a strong sense of fun. Despite the humour, many of her works contain dark references to the Holocaust and other Jewish history, such as the figures being chased by the German shepherd in The Birthday Party. Although she seeks creative inspiration from models—often friends and acquaintances—her portraits are constructions in which reality serves merely as a starting point.
For this major survey of the artist’s work, her exploration of family relationships will serve as primary subject. The artist’s depiction of her family members (notably her father and mother) will guide a journey through the complicated negotiation of historical events and human relationships.