Ladies of the Woods: Becky Kolsrud at JTT

An awkward girl strikes an awkward pose. Now picture that same girl surrounded by encroaching vines and leaves, untamed nature, getting inthe way of her opportunity to be portrayed. This playful imagery by Los Angeles-based artist Becky Kolsrud permeates her first show at the clever start-up gallery JTT, just south of Houston in the Lower East Side.

A year after her first show in New York at Brendan Dugan’s Karma Bookstore and Gallery, Kolsrud returns to the city to bring us delightful portraits of anonymous women, culled from her collection of photos from 1960 and 1970s. The source material for her show at Karma was one of Becky’s father’s 1969 yearbook, and she focused on women with newly liberated young identities. These new paintings portray the same sorts of women, but these women are a little older, their bodies awkwardly confident—ready to take on the 1970s, or the 2010s.

The women in her paintings are composites from multiple poses which she arranges; they are defined and dated by their clothing, but personality comes through in the subtle gestures that Kolsrud highlights. A tilted head, a hand on a crotch, a come-hither wrist. They inhibit backdrops that imply a specific place—but a place that remains completely unnamed. Are the women in an overgrown garden, or are they lying on the floor of a photo studio in the mall?