I cannot think of another narrative painter as expansive, surprising, funny, unsettling, tender, wacky, challenging, theatrical, and radically imaginative as Angela Dufresne.
“It was like realizing your parents have a life outside of you and you’re not a kid anymore.”
The Brooklyn-based painter’s intimate portraits of her mostly queer artist friends play with gender fluidity, sexual ambiguity, and a collaborative creative process.
Even as Pollock was eliminating mythology in his work, younger artists born in the 1920s were finding ways to make it fresh.
The works of painters Angela Dufresne and Louis Fratino are far more radical than anything some conceptual artists have recently received attention for.
Dufresne’s drawings are humorous, whimsical, tender, odd, sarcastic, fantastic, sympathetic, and sweet. She celebrates the wacky and wonderful side of human behavior when overtaken by erotic passion, as well as reaches inexplicable places in our imagination.
Angela Dufresne had a couple of beers cracked open and ready when I arrived at her East Williamsburg studio. It was an old-school painting studio – which somehow surprised me, perhaps because Dufresne’s work is so dense with contemporary theory.
In the foreground of the painting, “Dwarf, Goat, Woman, Man and Head” (2014), a young woman in a striped red and blue bikini is standing in a forest, where it has recently snowed, multitasking. She cradles a decapitated head in the crook of her left arm, while, with her right hand, she is about to push down on the head of a naked dwarf with an erection standing beside her.