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Rebecca Levitan: Reachability Problem

Jan 27 - Feb 17, 2024

Rebecca Levitan

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023, Four Walls That Go All The Way Up to The Ceiling

24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm.)

Rebecca Levitan’s paintings are concerned with capturing ordinary moments using materials, techniques, and compositions that grapple with the experience of living in a world at least as virtual as it is physical. Her work is an attempt to take the contemporary visual world and pass it through the low-tech, idiosyncratic filter of the hand in order to make paintings about the big feelings in small moments.

The paintings in reachability problem linger on moments of transitory or frustrated connection and mundane daily routine. To make these paintings, Levitan drew upon and referenced many different kinds of image-making and craft traditions, for source material and also as metaphors for the emotion underlying a moment and to mimic the mediated way we interact with the world. The paintings employ multiple modes of painting, drawing, and printmaking in a single piece, silkscreening a pattern derived from 3D scans, and embedding linocuts into the surface of a painting.

The paintings in reachability problem shift among different modes of representations—depicting a scene, an image of a scene, something being done to an image of a scene, or a hybrid combination, as subjects and objects recur. Levitan pays close attention to the ways that images are transformed as they move around the world or the internet and change media, and the way that strange new narratives are created when these images end up by chance next to each other. She aims to create similar situations within and between her paintings, building a body of work whose confusion of authentic and artificial, original and copy, mirrors the world she portrays.

Rebecca Levitan (b. 1990, Brooklyn, NY) is a Brooklyn-based painter. She holds an MFA in painting from RISD, a BA in art and visual studies from Harvard College, and worked and studied Arabic in the Middle East on a yearlong travel grant. Her paintings have been shown at the NARS Foundation, Morgan Lehman Gallery, and Asya Geisberg Gallery, among others. This past fall, big screen gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn showed a solo presentation of her work. She was an artist in residence for six months at Triangle Arts Association in Brooklyn, and her work was included in the Northeast Issue of New American Paintings.