Hard-to-peg portraitist comes back into spotlight
The exhibition, “People and Places: Paintings by Alice Neel,” at Gallery Hyundai in the art zone east of Gyeongbok Palace, central Seoul, consists of 15 paintings by Neel (1900-1984).
Actually, Neel’s portrait paintings are not easily categorized. They have qualities of realism but, at the same time, those of expressionism.
Viewers of “Sue Seely and Her husband” (1948) can read the couple’s subtle sorrow even if they don’t know the family’s private history. And viewers of “Jim Radowski”(1970) can guess not only the subject’s characteristics but also the mood of the 1970s. Regarding it, Neel was quoted by Gallery Hyundai as saying, “I like it not only to look like the person but to have their inner character as well. And then I like it to express the zeitgeist. See, I don’t like something from the ’60s to look like something in the ’70s.”
According to the gallery, Neel also said, “Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls .?.?. if I hadn’t been an artist, I could have been a psychiatrist.”
“In addition, a different way of talking about art history - the way not focusing on linear progress of art movements has made it possible for her to attract renewed attention.”
There were several important exhibitions of Neel in major museums and galleries, including those at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
The show runs through June 2. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Go to exit No. 1 of Anguk Station, Line No. 3 and walk for 10 minutes.
For details, call (02) 2287-3500 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
By Moon So-young [email@example.com]