Aubrey Levinthal

How we inhabit spaces, and how they inhabit us.

Aubrey Levinthal was born in 1986 in Philadelphia, USA, where she continues to live and work.

Movements

Aubrey Levinthal sits within a cohort of young artists – including Gisela McDaniel, Doron Langberg and Jenna Gribbon – credited with spearheading a global revival of figurative painting.

Exhibitions

In 2022 Levinthal will feature in the ICA Boston’s exhibition A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now and open House Weary, a solo show at Haverkampf Leistenschneider in Berlin.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Softly-rendered portraits by Aubrey Levinthal explore contemporary psychology. In the works, figures go about familiar daily routines - eating, sleeping and daydreaming. The artist is inspired by a range of modernist painters, from portraitist Alice Neel to collagist Romare Bearden and modernist David Hockney. Her intentionally muted palette of predominantly grey tones is created by layering light washes of oil paint onto panels, and then scraping them down with a blade. This technique renders the skin of her characters as almost translucent - either emerging from, or dissolving into, their surfaces.

Much of Levinthal’s recent work relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loneliness and claustrophobia of social isolation is told through melancholic facial expressions and slumped postures. Recurring motifs, such as browning bananas and unfinished meals, allude to the passing of time, while irregularities in proportion and perspective engage the ways in which a home becomes strange when you spend all your time within it. These details embody the crux of Levinthal’s practice - how we inhabit spaces, and how they inhabit us.

“The mundane is essential, it has to be there to make the surreal shine.” Aubrey Levinthal