['Accessible, expandable, affordable,' 1989. 36"x36" approx]
my sweetie jane irish, who's in sicily at the moment painting interiors, was living and working on the lower east side in the 1980s, contemporary with, you know, nan goldin and robert mapplethorpe, cindy sherman and barbara kruger, basquiat and haring, koons and schnabel. i feel that her work in that period has been severely under-recognized. she was calling the style 'post-painterly nihilism' (her current work might be termed 'post-colonial rococo'). it is conceptual yet painterly, highly political and highly optical, beautifully rendered and hilarious, very of its moment and also traditional: it should be a paradigm of high post-modernism.
a number of works juxtaposed brutalist or banal american architecture rendered in egg tempera, with parodic yet lovely renoirish oil surrounds. it's a commentary at once on the history of painting and contemporary american culture, making you see both differently.
['It was the best of times,' 1989 36"x36"]
she was particularly obsessed with shea stadium (having gone to school at queens college), though i don't seem to have those images. i think one reason for the neglect is that she is a rather shy and unassuming person, though an incredibly bold artist. but she might have beeen a little hard to notice in a world of wild boys and girls and their big problems. still i think we shouldn't be narrating this segment of art history - now so central, the big figures sainted rock stars - without these paintings.
she used appropriation, text, grid forms, and so on - many elements that came to be understood as central to post-modernism - but folded them all into something resembling traditional painting, which might have been another reason people missed her perfect contemporaneity.
['Penn centre,' 1986. 5'x6']
she was often read through a half-assed freudian structure of phallic and vaginal symbols, masculine and feminine elements. gender is there - fundamentally in a comical way, though also feminist - but this was a sad simplistic distortion.