P·P·O·W is pleased to present a one person exhibition of rare vintage works by Betty Tompkins (b. 1945). Over the last few years the work of Betty Tompkins has become ubiquitous and heralded for its provocative feminist iconography. Her work has been featured in innumerable group exhibitions including her critically acclaimed solo exhibition WOMEN Words, Phrases and Stories at FLAG Art Foundation, her inclusion in the four-artist exhibition Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics curated by Alison Gingeras at Dallas Contemporary. Our booth installation will display her early 1970s works and demonstrate how she navigated the male dominated art movements established by the pop, conceptual and minimalist artists that were being celebrated at that time. The selected works on view exhibit how she used pop iconography, the grid, methods of erasure, and the use of text, which are still evident in her current work. Taken together the works will offer a fascinating and profound glimpse into the work of a woman systematically ignored and now being celebrated.
For the last forty years, Tompkins has based her paintings on the tension of intimacy and representation of sexuality in monochromatic tones. Her radicalism in the late 1960’s led to the unfortunate censoring of her work and later put a spotlight on her role in the American and European art scene. Her large-scale, hyper realistic figure paintings are made by cropping photographs and then building paint layer by layer, using two airbrush nozzles to apply black and white acrylic. During the feminist movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, the paintings were not widely shown and once were even flagged by French custom officials for pornographic content. Her work is not meant to arouse fantasy but to transpose light and shade, the effect of the process enveloping the scene in sfumato. Tompkins' work in the context of the 21st century and the emergence of fourth wave feminism, with young women coming to terms with body autonomy and sexuality, is now highly regarded as groundbreaking.
Betty Tompkins (b. 1945) is an artist living and working in New York, NY, and Pleasant Mount, PA. Recent solo exhibitions include WOMEN Words, Phrases, and Stories, Flag Art Foundation, New York (2016); Sex Works/ WOMEN Words, Phrases and Stories, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Real Ersatz, FUG, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York (2015); Art Basel Feature, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Basel, Switzerland (2014); Paintings & Works on Paper 1972-2013, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL (2014); Woman Words, Dinter Fine Art, Project Room #63, New York (2013); Fuck Paintings, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2012); New Work, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York (2009). Tompkins’s work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas (2016); The Shell (LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS & SHAPES), Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France (2014); A Drawing Show, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (2014); CORPUS, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2014); A Chromatic Loss, Bortolami Gallery, New York (2014); Sunset and Pussy, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2013); Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011). Tompkins will open her first solo exhibition with P·P·O·W entitled Virgins on March 30, 2017.