Aubrey Levinthal is a painter living and working in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. The city is important to her, she was born there in 1986, gained her BA from the University of Pennsylvania State University in 2008 and completed her MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2011. Now in her thirties she has continued to make the city her home, and something of its light and colour has seeped into the scumbled greys that distinguish the muted, often melancholy tones of her palette.
Her paintings, of (sometimes autobiographical) figures going about their daily lives, have an unusual combination of intimacy and openness that owes something to the likes of Bonnard, Vuillard, Matisse and Milton Avery, yet they are resolutely contemporary in character and belong unequivocally to the time and place in which they are made. Recently the critic John Lau has described her as: “one of the most interesting and engaging figurative painters at a time when many artists are working in this vein.” But that alone, he continued, is not what makes this artist special, “what distinguishes Levinthal from her contemporaries is her ability to evoke a state that speaks directly our daily sense of unease and vulnerability …having shown each year since 2016, she has staked out a singular territory marked by melancholy, isolation, tenderness, and gentle humor”.
Her work has been shown extensively in the USA, most recently at the ICA, Boston, in A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now, and at the Flag Foundation, New York. Recent paintings have also been presented in group shows in the UK, including From Near and Far, curated by Katy Hessel at Stephen Friedman in 2022 and in Long Bed, curated by Russell Tovey at Grimm in 2023.
Levinthal’s ‘Instalment’ at Ingleby was the first solo presentation of her work in the UK, and was made up five interconnected paintings with a cast of characters that regularly populate her paintings, through the rhythm of an ordinary day. As always, wider narratives are hinted at, each painting capturing a passing moment and part of an unspecified story, echoing the (sometimes surreal) oddness of everyday life, and the communality of human experience.
As Aubrey said of the show, “this group of paintings feels like an obvious step that I’m not sure I would have known to take without the opportunity to show them in Ingleby gallery’s "Feast Room". My paintings often feel cropped in a way that relates to film stills, but these paintings exist together, as if they all are stills from the same film”.
We look forward to staging Levinthal's next solo presentation at Ingleby in 2025.