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Elizabeth Neel (B. 1974)
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Elizabeth Neel (B. 1974)

American Standard

Details
Elizabeth Neel (B. 1974)
American Standard
oil on canvas
80 3/8 x 70½in. (204 x 179cm.)
Painted in 2009
Provenance
Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2009.
Exhibited
Milan, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Elizabeth Neel, 2009.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, 2009-2010.
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Lot Essay

‘Life, and nature underneath it, is a baroque, mysterious thing that hangs precariously on a framework of elegant reason,’ muses Elizabeth Neel. Informed by her youth in rural Vermont, ideas of nature, landscape, beauty and death are prevalent in the artist’s practice, though she addresses these themes indirectly; her works explore the signifying language of paint itself, veering energetically between abstraction and figuration. Through translucent strata, diaphanous outlines and lyrical drips of paint, Neel’s American Standard, 2009, creates a cyclical choreography of form. An array of imagery flits in and out of focus. A sumptuously rendered bunch of pink peonies arises out of hazy swills of colour, making reference to one of art history’s most enduring symbols of the fleeting transience of life. Dabs and swathes of lush green paint flash across the surface, evoking thoughts of foliage and greenery, whilst, to the right-hand side, the sobering outline of a toilet bowl (the title American Standard refers to a famous brand of toilet) appears from a dark plume of deep purple and charcoal grey. An iridescent masterpiece of colour, form and painterly technique, American Standard’s deeply layered and complex surface becomes a compelling metaphor for the human condition.

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