Allison Zukerman became certain that she would pursue a career as an artist in high school. Later, while working towards her BA in Fine Art, she became devoted to painting and risk-taking in her work. Her paintings draw from the melodramatic women of Roy Lichtenstein’s work from the 60s, which he appropriated from comic strips to parody popular culture. In Allison’s paintings, the feminine, tearful faces are composed and painted alongside other familiar art history references; for instance, Matisse’s fishbowl resting on the figure’s stomach in “Longing Odalisque.”
The oblivious lovers kissing behind the distressed women are rendered in strong Fauvist colors, and the bodies of her figures mock the traditional pose of the reclining nude. The reference upon reference is a deliberate merging of modern art, which brings the past into the present.
Lichtenstein’s work forced people to examine the imagery of comics and advertising, which depicted a strange, comical truth about American culture. Allison uses art history to highlight new questions about sexuality and gender roles within the 21st century, a culture that is still inundated with media and commercial imagery. It is a journey from comic strips to social media and reality TV.
Allison’s hysterical females seem even more exposed than Lichtenstein’s. Without the flat, contained graphic style they appear less trapped within the story and more aware of their audience. It is as if they are posting and sharing their drama to the world, and of course, we are transfixed by it.