Rachel Feinstein:          Maiden, Mother, Crone

Rachel Feinstein: Maiden, Mother, Crone

At the Jewish Museum, NYC, through March 22, 2020

by Nancy Whitcomb

Rachel Feinstein’s big new show is fresh, wild, raw, funny and full of surprises.  I hesitate writing about it in detail because I don’t want to weaken the suspense about what visitors to the show will see.

Female, and mural on Mylar

Feinstein, born in 1971, is too often simply identified as the wife of painter John Currin.  But both are well known in the New York art world. Feinstein, with long curly hair, looks as if she stepped out of a fairy tale. And indeed her work, mostly sculpture, borrows from fairy tales.   She explores femininity — borrowing from religion, formal European painting, Kitsch, goddesses and other sources as she does so. She uses a variety of materials, including finely formed and finished wood, raw wood, mirrors, mylar wallpaper, clay, metal and plaster. 

Rhoda (parasol), on mirror

The exhibition includes a particularly striking series of crones painted on mirrors. Some of her sculptures look unfinished, and goofy, to me, but I was drawn by her energy, daring, creativity and variety of expression. 

Madonna, 2015. Aqua Resin, steel, wire, and woof

Rachel Feinstein’s show offers plenty to think about beyond her themes. Her sculptures are unique in that they are completely dissimilar from one another. With her dizzying array of styles and materials, she defies the art world’s expectations for a unified look.

The Bleeding Shepherdess, 2014. Resin