Eileen MIslove's "Cries and Whispers"

August 2004

Eileen Mislove’s “Cries and Whispers”

Citing “ghosts in my head” as diverse as Marlene Dumas, JoanMitchell, "father memories," “Jackson Pollock on a slippery slope,” and “thelingering smell of sex,” Eileen Mislove makes mixed media drawings with the swift, spare elegance of Zen ink paintings.

In Mislove’s series “Cries and Whispers,” bouquets of dead flowers as ruefully evocative as the Rolling Stones song of that title are laid down in loose, linear strokes of thinned,
translucent acrylic with the consistency of dried blood–– albeit in more luminous red, orange, green, blue, and yellow hues.

According to the artist, these gnarled, tortured-looking floral outbursts allude, however indirectly, to topical subjects such as “the Northern Alliance fighters as hero / killers” and “the Taliban as killer /believers turned victims.” Their colorful forms share generous expanses of bare Arches paper with sketchy / ghostly figures evoked in pencil: cerebral male heads and sensual female nudes that may allude to sexual politics as well.

But the real excitement in Eileen Mislove’s drawings comes from the purely spatial tensions she creates, as well as the splashy gestural panache with which she reconciles abstract and figurative elements in compositions possessed of exhilarating velocity and exquisite poetic grace.

Ed McCormack
New York City

Eileen Mislove’s “Cries and Whispers”

Lines, flower-marks…and a few figures

Eileen Mislove’s iconography incorporates the artist’s model as a lovely drawing – an innocent, with the smell of death lingering on nearby.

These works employ embraces, but they are between the artist’s brush and eye, as her mind searches our recent art and political histories, for a way to frame images that combine the aromas of sexuality, with the stench of an anonymous war - one, where the victims are pictured as apparitions, posing for the viewer’s imagination – laid out and displayed as a still life - like decorative forms of our mortality.

Meantime, the explosive, uncompromising metamorphosis of flowers and stems, circulate orgasmic energy without apology.

Hovering between the things one can name and the intangible blots of their circumstances…is chance and her lines - they obey their own immaterial demands on these stained surfaces, with fragmented, liquid staccato motions – a proto-life - forming a botanical field to engage us in her dance.

The breath in these images contains her rapture – the lyrical airs of an ethereal swoon, where the atmosphere is palpable and space is like the membrane of a trampoline – here, we are given an esthetic athleticism that entertains as it instructs.

And if love is the message of her truth - it doesn’t forbid us knowledge of the hell we have created - her images are that place we require, to rest and restore our belief in an intelligent hedonism.

Arthur Freed

Pratt Institute
Brooklyn NY

August, 2004