PEEP SHOW, Jessica Lichtenstein's first solo exhibition in the Hamptons opens Memorial Day Weekend at Vered Gallery, East Hampton. Lichtenstein has already established her reputation as one of New York’s hottest young artists known for her anime inspired, doll filled tableaux and the wildly imaginative worlds she creates with her "Word Sculptures". This exhibition at Vered Gallery marks the next step in her evolution as an internationally acclaimed artist. PEEP SHOW opens with a reception for the artist at Vered Gallery, Saturday, May 25th 9-11pm. The exhibition will run through Monday, June 17th.
Jessica Lichtenstein was never obsessed with the world of Japanese animation or its X-rated hentai subgenre, but something attracted her to the small, titillating figurines of its female characters and they have since become central to her body of work. What began as a playful exploration of the figurines themselves—putting them in thought-provoking scenes and miniature dioramas, in various states of undress—has evolved and grown in step with her blossoming career. In a few short years, Lichtenstein has had two solo shows in New York City and has been exhibited at the county’s leading contemporary art fairs. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including a prominent collector’s profile in Architectural Digest and she’s represented in private collections in London, Madrid, Paris, Nice, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and across the United States.
PEEP SHOW marks the next step in Lichtenstein's evolution, as an artist expanding on her complex themes of desire, sexuality, lust and female empowerment. The sexually charged hentai characters remain an essential component of the work, but Lichtenstein’s now places them in fantastical, digitally created worlds, rife with frolicking girls - all of them enjoying their surreal, beautiful and eroticized surroundings. Called “Word Sculptures,” these new works feature Lichtenstein’s scenes - scenes that play to those of nude bathers depicted by Renoir, Cezanne or Picasso - tableaux integrated into thick, clear acrylic letters that together spell evocative words, such as “WILD,” “DIRTY,” “BLISS,” “POP” or “WAR,” to name a few.
Layering these images behind a dense buffer of acrylic, the pieces take a critical distance from their own content and beg the viewer to do the same. Through this thick lens, the viewer is again asked to engage with and question whether these women are depicted solely to satisfy an insatiable male-dominated gaze, or if such a theory is too narrow, neglecting to address the complex nature of women and their desire to enjoy their sexuality, enjoy their bodies and their desire to be desirable. Lichtenstein provokes the viewer to confront their own reactions to these intensely sexual images—whether it be feelings of shock, disgust, power, vulnerability or longing—and decide what they are comfortable with, and why.
“I don’t exactly know how I feel about it,” Lichtenstein says, noting that examining such notions is part of her process. The artist enjoys pushing buttons and testing the boundaries of her viewers and collectors, but she also sees the figures as symbols of lost innocence, fetish objects and idealized forms. “I like depictions of the female form, not in a sexual way, but in a beautiful way,” she says. “Oddly enough it’s mostly women who are drawn to the work. They have the ability to imagine themselves in that world and as that girl.”
For additional information visit the Vered Gallery website.