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Minter, Marilyn  

Monica Majoli

(b Shreveport, LA, 1948).

American painter, photographer, and video artist. Minter received her MFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, in 1972. She produced a series of paintings from the late 1970s that mined the banal quotidian in virtuosic, conceptually driven photorealistic oil paintings featuring affectless expanses of grey linoleum floor as a backdrop for plywood, aluminium foil, and coffee stains in nearly abstract compositions. By 1989 Minter began using her signature imagery of the female body severely cropped, often for erotic effect, either using hardcore pornography as source material or eliciting references to pornographic imagery as a subtext in self-staged photographic shoots. A master of surface and illusion, Minter’s enamel paintings on aluminum belie their photographic source material, created at first hand by Minter and reconfigured in Photoshop from as many as 20 or 30 darkroom negatives. Idiosyncratically, the final layer of sticky enamel paint is finessed by fingertip to obscure brush marks—the fingerprints are revealed on close observation. Insisting on the triumph of the body over its image in this overt indexical trace, Minter restated the tactile nature of painting itself just as she used photography to capture her subject and shock her spectator. The Baroque period is cited as a historical precursor of Minter’s oeuvre, revelling as it does in passion over rationality, shimmering, gilded excess, and monumental compositional undulations reminiscent of flesh itself and its urges. Like painters of the 17th century, Minter also employed a studio of artists who assisted her in creating all facets of her production, a system of making she employed from ...

Article

Tompkins, Betty  

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1945, in Washington, DC.

Painter.

Feminism, photorealism.

Betty Tompkins grew up in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Syracuse University in New York and her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Washington State College in Ellensburg, Washington. Tompkins lives and works in New York and Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Heralded as a photorealist painter, Tompkins began her infamous career just after graduate school with the series of works titled Fuck Paintings from 1969 through 1974. In the series, Tompkins sourced imagery from her then-husband’s collection of black-and-white vintage pornography mail ordered from Canada because it was illegal to mail in the United States. The painstakingly airbrushed, photorealist phalluses, vaginas, tongues, and fingers retain their shock value even today. Censored in Paris in 1973 and impounded in Tokyo as pornography in 2005, Tompkins’s paintings provoked ire on all sides, from first-wave feminists who decried their depictions of heteronormative intercourse essentialist and exploitative of the female sex workers who posed for the photos, to conservative viewers who despaired of what they defined as blatant pornography displayed in public....