Artist Jacqueline Cedar takes a psychological approach to her figurative paintings.
The West Coast transplant, who received her masters in fine arts from Columbia University, thinks of her painted people as archetypes.
ìOne might be a helper and one might be vulnerable,î Cedar said at the opening of her solo exhibition ìRealm of Interactionî on July 26 at Yace Gallery. ìI think about how they might act.î
For example, she says pointing to her massive, 9-foot-tall oil painting, ìTrip One and Glove,î the concept started by watching a young boy and an older man sitting on the subway.
The younger boy wanted to help the man maneuver, but at the same time, he looked like he didnít know how to approach the situation.
She started brainstorming about this idea of feeling helpless in a situation.
The figure in white looks to be lurching towards the other figure, dressed in green, while that figure passively slouches in a floating cloud-like space. It no longer looks like two people sitting on the train, but the push and pull of a helper and receiver relationship is still evident.
Not only is the relationship between the figures important in Cedarís work, but also the whimsical space.
ìFigures emerge from and recede into the spaces depicted,î she said in an artistís statement.
The painting îSeems Like She Movedî is all about finding ìa place of your own,î she said. The woman ó Cedarís figures are not gender specific, but in this painting the color scheme, softer feel and body shape hint at femininity ó sinks into a purple wall while light streams in from a window and plays on the ground at her feet. This work, as well as ìA Hand Holding Back a Curtain,î examines light in way that is inspired by the paintings of sunlit rooms by French painter Pierre Bonnard.
People in her other paintings also deal with space, but slightly more abstractly. The figures climb in and out of different planes and shapes. Thick paint obscures the viewers gaze like a wall in some instances ó not necessarily to denote rooms, but not exactly not rooms.
The use of color also defines space and sets a tone. The fire engine red behind the figures in ìTrip One and Gloveî give a sense of urgency and movement while the shades of tranquil purple in ìSeems Like She Movedî is in line with Cedarís idea for the painting of finding a place to escape to and relax.
The last unifying detail of Cedarís works is the large scale. She likes that larger paintings force the viewer to piece together details of the painting. The eye has to travel from one corner to the next, picking up clues and unique hidden details, instead of taking the whole image in with one easy take. The life size magnitude also make for easier relatability, she said.
ìThe majority of my paintings are set up to allow for the viewer to feel as if he might enter the work,î she said.
Curator Yoorim Park said the size is what drew her to Cedarís pieces in the first place.
Cedar earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California in Los Angeles. In addition to working on her own artistic pursuit, she also teaches art for the Guggenheim and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn and has shown her works in several group shows including at Fredericks & Freiser in Chelsea.
When: Now to Aug. 11, Wed. to Sat. from 12 to 6 p.m. and Mon. to Tues. by appt.
Where: 44-02 23 St., LIC
Tickets: Free, yacegallery.com