Casey Kaplan

Artist News, Gallery News

Judith Eisler, Headlights, 2015


Judith Eisler (b. 1962, Newark, NJ) paints cinematic close-ups sourced from her own photographs of paused film scenes. Primarily working with oil on canvas, Eisler directs our view to the visual optics of cinematic happenings, often indecipherable to the untrained eye. With an ongoing investigation of the formal properties of light, color and space, Eisler considers an image’s capacity to exist as both real and fictional. With a lifelong interest in film, often returning to the work of filmmakers such as Derek Jarman and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Eisler’s paintings range in subject matter from representational (as seen in “Margit” (2013), depicting an isolated facial crop of German actress Margit Carstensen in Fassbinder’s 1973 TV-movie World on a Wire) to abstract (as in “Headlights” (2015), sourced from Amos Poe’s 1984 film Alphabet City, in which a car is almost completely obscured by the shine of its high beams). Moments of action and manifestations of emotion are transmitted through a moving image, first through digital channels of screens and monitors, then to the artist’s photographs and finally to her paintings. Accessing an atmospheric space simultaneously static and fluid, the artist transforms and expands the original thematic plot from the captured mise en scène. The narrative shifts, and with that, our understanding of the image before us.

Eisler received her BFA from Cornell University in 1984. She has been exhibiting her work since 1995 at venues such as Hall Art Foundation/Schloss Derneburg Museum, Hanover, Germany; White Columns, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Bass Museum, Miami, FL; Hayward Gallery, London; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. In 2002, she was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisler is currently included in an exhibition at Kunsthalle, Vienna, on view through January 2018. Eisler is a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, and lives and works between Vienna, Austria and Warren, Connecticut. The artist’s first solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan is slated for September of 2018.