Purple Art

[July 29 2022]

“Whale Tail,” an exhibition by Jo Messer at The Ranch, Montauk, New York

On view now at The Ranch in Montauk, NY, a solo exhibition of nine paintings by the American artist Jo Messer. In her most recent series, women occupy insular worlds outfitted with tiled walls and seafood platters. Escaping representational accuracy, Messer’s figures bend as if flesh unburdened by bone, scrunched against the confines of the painting’s edge or slumped on top of their companions. The works hinge on corporal distortions in which body parts appear
impossibly reduced or enlarged while others are entirely erased––as with the disproportionately engorged feet that appear in several paintings.
Messer also plays with optical incoherence, an ambiguity achieved by the artist’s oscillation between figuration and abstraction. The images suggest a sexuality apart from the canon of art history: Stubby toes and mangled joints are offered as visual libations instead of breast or groin. Sensuality is otherwise reimagined through the languid bodies that pulsate beneath Messer’s layers of paint. The artist makes this explicit in titling the show “Whale Tail”––a nod to the resurgent trend of hiking a g-string thong above the waistline in overt provocation.

On view now until August 27 at the Raunch in Montauk, NY, 8 Old Montauk Highway Montauk, New York 11954

Text by Megan Kincaid 

Photos by Thomas Mueller / Oliver Campbell

Subscribe to our newsletter