Here’s Looking Back at You:
Images of Woman from the collection of Eileen K. Inc.
Curated by Saul Ostrow
October 18, 2015 – April 1, 2016
A group exhibition from the Eileen K. Inc. diverse private collection, curator Saul Ostrow highlights an unintentional pattern of female agency and identity.
The Eileen K. Inc. Collection began in 1990, when Eileen S. Kaminsky bought her first lithograph. Driven by instinct, her collection has grown expansively over the years. Going through it, Ostrow observed an emphasis on Woman, and most particularly, the various parameters and subjectivities that influence how both artist and viewer confront female representation.
As a starting point for this exhibition, Ostrow referenced Jacques Lacan, the early 20th century French philosopher and psychoanalyst who controversially declared “La femme n’existe pas” (Woman does not exist) as a strong statement against the idea of the female as the “other” to the male. Instead, the female is a being and force of her own within the human race.
To this effect, Ostrow created four Sessions, or narratives, to view traditional stories of the feminine in a more psychoanalytical light. In “Ancien Régime,” time is of the essence: as history evolves, so do the values through which we see images. In “On The Face of It,” we are asked to consider how much can be deduced about Woman through portraiture. In “Here’s Looking at Her,” the images objectify Woman, yet paradoxically, exalt many of her wide-ranging emotions. “A Day in the Life of…” examines un-named, solitary subjects, asking viewers to consider how much of a person can we truly understand from one image, even if the chosen moment is unguarded.
In his accompanying essay to the exhibition, Ostrow pushes back against the idea of “essential qualities” to characterize any person. He writes: “Definition is a device; a construct based on a generalization, which is nothing more than an abstract schema of the thing in question.” Simplicity undermines complexity.
Among the 37 works, featured artists include: Marina Abramović, Chitra Ganesh, Julie Heffernan, Noriko Ito, Nicky Nodjoumi, Cindy Sherman, and Christian Vincent.
The exhibition is presented in the ESKFF Gallery on Mana’s fifth floor.