From Body to Horizon
From Body to Horizon (2022) was a vibrant exhibition of paintings by queer artists, showcasing their unique approaches to color when depicting interior and exterior landscapes. The exhibition featured works by Etel Adnan, David Hockney, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, and Doron Langberg. These four artists push the boundaries of naturalism, using their signature approaches to color as a language to reflect on various scenes—figural and panoramic, domestic and picturesque, intimate and universal.
Anchoring the exhibition was David Hockney’s large-scale diptych Double East Yorkshire (1998), one of six early canvases the artist painted of Yorkshire between 1997 and 1998, during the illness and death of his longtime friend Jonathan Silver. While the first four paintings in the series evoke summer, Double East Yorkshire portrays the progression of the seasons and the passage of time. Here, Hockney layers multiple vantage points, challenging single-point perspective and creating an emotive portrayal of the world shaped by color and perspective.
Inspired by Hockney’s expressive use of color, Doron Langberg presented his figurative painting Jarrett and Candystore (2022)—depicting a couple evocatively entwined on a bed—as well as three distinctive portraits of flora from Fire Island. Likewise, Etel Adnan believed nature expressed itself most vividly in color. Untitled (#234) (2014) features fields of ecstatic hues that upend and reimagine the traditional landscape genre. Exemplifying Adnan’s refined symbolism, her combinations of line, shape, and tone express a deep engagement with consciousness and place.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s work similarly probes geographies real and imagined. Hwami refutes the notion of a singular society, drawing upon her experiences of dislocation and displacement. The exhibition featured her poignant painting Lotus (2020), which illuminates its nude subject in a bold, pared-down palette dominated by brown, yellow, black, and blue. Exploring the Black body and its representation, gender, and sexuality, through intense pigment and line, Hwami’s intimate figural portrayal unfolds across the canvas in a testament to the power of experience, beauty, sensation, and response.