Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The White Dress

The White Dress, 2003
Vincent Desiderio
oil on linen
62 3/8 x 67 5/8 in.

Vincent Desiderio is one of my favorite painters. I wandered into a show at the Marlborough Gallery while gallery hopping and ended up spending the remainder of my afternoon there. I noticed a group of people following someone around who appeared to be giving an informal tour. I tagged along only to discover that the man giving the tour was Desiderio himself! I still have the card from the show with this image on it, as well as the exhibition catalog.

A delicate, beautifully handled painting, Desiderio's technique is exquisite (and detail incredible, as you can see in other works). Focused on the figure, you are drawn up and down the lines of her body despite its mostly being hidden beneath the dress of white. Despite this the dress remains as the curve of her leg creates a life in the shape and folds of the dress. As opposed to the flesh filled up close reality of the work of Jenny Saville, Desiderio works from a more sentimental place in his painting of figures, the identity of the sleeping woman is removed as we see the image as a whole.

Leffingwell, Edward. "Allegories of painting: in large-scale, elaborately worked canvases, Vincent Desiderio presents ambiguous narratives that refer to his life, our times and the history of Western art" Art in America (Feb 2005).

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