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.