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Love Before Intimacy: Lola Montes Schnabel’s First U.S. Solo Show

"Exchange of Youth for Knowledge," 2001, 84 x 120 inches; photo courtesy of The Hole.

Visiting art gallery shows can be a particularly refreshing experience, contrasting in tone from the often retrospective views of museum exhibitions. There is a welcome immediacy in a gallery, the kind that grounds the viewer in the here and now.

Such is the case at Lola Montes Schnabel’s exhibition Love Before Intimacy at The Hole in New York City’s Bowery neighborhood. As the press release indicates, the presentation of five paintings relates “a narrative of androgynous youth encountering each other on a remote Greek island.” Love Before Intimacy is the artist’s first solo painting exhibition in the U.S. The daughter of artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel, Ms. Schnabel employs in these oil paintings more non-traditional mediums of asphalt, copper plating solution, plaster weld, and rabbit glue.

"The Best with Two Backs," 2011, 84 x120 inches; photo courtesy of The Hole.

The paintings’ thick tremulous brushstrokes suggest a kind of latent sexual expression bound by youthful inexperience. This sense of dormancy is heightened by the placid yet subtly coy faces of the characters depicted. Swathes of pink and red-magenta splash against undulations of sea foam green and blue.

The figures themselves are partially hidden–embedded in the landscape–as figuration and abstraction commingle. The artist constructs an atmosphere dense with anticipation and sublimated urges.

The exhibition runs through Saturday, February 4th. For more information, visit The Hole’s official website.