Joan Semmel

Sex Paintings

1971

Untitled, 1971

Oil On Canvas

69h x 81w in (175.26h x 205.74w cm)

Untitled, 1971

Oil And Collage On Canvas

69h x 81w in (175.26h x 205.74w cm)

Untitled, 1971

Oil On Canvas

58h x 69w in (147.32h x 175.26w cm)

Untitled, 1971

Oil on canvas

70h x 80w in (177.80h x 203.20w cm)

Flip-Flop Diptych, 1971

Oil On Canvas

68h x 136w in (172.72h x 345.44w cm)

Untitled, 1971

Oil On Canvas

69h x 58w in (175.26h x 147.32w cm)

Green Heart, 1971

Oil On Canvas

48h x 58w in
(121.92h x 147.32w cm)

Hot Seat, 1971

Oil On Canvas

69h x 69w in (175.26h x 175.26w cm)

Description

Returning to New York from Spain in 1970, Joan Semmel reflected, “I had returned from Spain looking for the ‘sexual revolution’ and instead found sexual commercialization that mostly showed female bodies for sale. I wanted to find an erotic visual language that would speak to women. I was convinced that the repression of women began in the sexual arena, and this would need to be addressed at the source.” Committing herself to this mission, she created her Sex Paintings (1971). Working from sketches, she depicted men and women locked in explicit and intimate embraces. Painted in a gestural style and using expressive color, these large-scale works reflect Semmel’s training as an Abstract Expressionist.