The New York-based painter Dana Schutz is best known for her narrative paintings, scenes often leavened by absurd humor in which her characters are thrown into situations of existential anxiety. “Sleepwalker,” Schutz’s edition for Texte zur Kunst, shows one such borderline experience: an individual struggling with her body and the world around her, the somnambulist’s physical and psychological situation is precarious. The motif is based on a charcoal drawing Schutz created in 2015 and also found its way into a painting of the same title. For this edition, Schutz has rendered it as a woodcut and double monotype print, making each piece unique. The steep flight of stairs that appeared in the background of the earlier versions has given way to harsher contrasts and a rougher and flatter treatment of the surface, shifting the work’s art-historical references into a different register: it now hints at the revival of traditional printing techniques and Christian iconography in the European modernist’s works (Munch’s Madonna comes to mind). The protagonist’s bright yellow Adidas shirt, meanwhile, decidedly anchors the scene in the present. The sleepwalker’s outstretched hands seem to fend off an invisible danger – or else to feel the picture’s surface, probing the barrier towards the viewer, smearing the unevenly applied paint on the paper as if in the artist’s stead.
Woodblock and monotype on paper, ca. 56 x 38 cm, edition: 100 + 25 A.P. + 5 P.P., numbered and signed on the front, € 350.- plus shipping. Each piece is unique.