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Joan Semmel

Beach Series


Amagansett Afternoon, 1985, Oil On Canvas

Amagansett Afternoon, 1985

Oil On Canvas

78h x 120w in (198.12h x 304.80w cm)

Beachbody, 1985, Oil on canvas

Beachbody, 1985

Oil on canvas

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

Double Torso, 1987, Oil On Canvas

Double Torso, 1987

Oil On Canvas

20.13h x 30.25w in (51.12h x 76.84w cm)

Respite, 1987, Oil On Canvas

Respite, 1987

Oil On Canvas

36h x 48w in (91.44h x 121.92w cm)

Silhouette, 1987, Oil on canvas

Silhouette, 1987

Oil on canvas

24h x 36w in (60.96h x 91.44w cm) 

Since 1971, Joan Semmel has spent her summers in East Hampton, NY. In 1987, she established a permanent studio in Springs, NY where painted her Beach series (1985—87). Unlike many of her works, which isolate figures against expressive grounds of color, in these works, Semmel positions bodies in a landscape. This new way of working was characteristic of Semmel’s painterly approach in the 1980s, which was a decade when she began to push her practice in new directions. Writing about this period, Semmel stated, “I combined realist and painterly methods insisting that a unified style was not preordained.” With this series, she aimed to communicate the psychological experience of feeling lost in a crowd—alone and isolated even on a crowded beach.