“And indeed how was it possible that the nose, which only yesterday he had on his face, and which could neither walk nor drive, should now wear a uniform?”
— Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose”
In Jaqueline Cedar’s new work featured in Hug Me, Squeeze Me, the artist grapples with the unstable relationship between the whole and its parts, as once captured by Gogol in his satirical story of a Russian “committee-man” whose nose leaves his face and gallivants around St. Petersburg. As a painter, Cedar has devoted herself to investigating the charged relationship between figures, interiors, and pictorial space through a vocabulary of stripped down, archetypal human forms. The figures in Hug Me, Squeeze Me, by contrast, pulse mischievously with personality, setting off a chain reaction that results in their radical departure from the picture plane.
In their bold yet incomplete transition from two-dimensional painting to three-dimensional sculpture, Cedar’s figures capture the momentary spark of equality between artist and artwork in the act of creation. Flopping, sagging, and draping, they continuously reenact the comic process of their making. Their liminal forms seem both to rebuke painting for its inability to harness the energy of the still-in-progress, even while holding on tightly to the medium as a grounding source of meaning. Further complicating the status of painting, Cedar’s sly figures evade psychological projection, but channel the viewer’s desire for connection into mass-produced tactility: fastened with a sumptuous bargain fabric, the underside of each painted figure promises physical satisfaction, but bears no trace of human touch.
— Hannah Shaw
Jaqueline Cedar was born in Los Angeles, CA and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In 2009 she received an MFA in painting from Columbia University. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston (2016) and 106 Green Gallery, Brooklyn (2014). She has also been included in exhibitions at Lesley Heller Workspace (2016), BAM (2015), DUTTON Gallery (2015), and Brian Morris Gallery (2015). Press includes Huffington Post, New American Paintings, and The Boston Globe.
Hannah Shaw is a PhD candidate in Art History at Rutgers University.