Emily1966 by Marcia Marcus

...Surrounded by a golden-hued, abstract landscape, Lucas in the Dunes makes a delightfully odd study of selfhood and appearance.

Even more captivatingly odd is the similarly foregrounded beachside portrait of the painter Emily Mason. Emily, 1966, depicts the abstract artist in a vibrant yellow bikini against a reduced background composed of two shades of pale, limpid blue. The slightest waver of a yellow line denotes the horizon. Mason’s skin is painted an unusual grayish color, which, against the blue ground, gives the figure a flat, cardboard-cutout quality.

This quality is intensified by the minimal modeling used to define Mason’s features: her chin almost dissolves into her neck, and the division between her arms and torso is barely perceptible, the flesh merging into a field of color. Aside from the yellow patches of the bikini, the field is broken only by the slightest indication of a row of teeth and, most strikingly, by the subject’s intense blue eyes. Tellingly, Mason is known for her color field abstractions; it would appear that in these portraits of her fellow artists, Marcus captured not only their likenesses, but also something of their artistic identities.
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