The body before me resembles a headless version of the Venus of Willendorf—wide hips, full breasts, a protruding belly, and feet lost to time or accident or violence. Louise Bourgeois titled the image “Hanging Figure” (2000), and this body does indeed hang on a hook like some gruesome ornament, like bait, like the meat a predator might desire. Bourgeois blacked out the border of the drypoint print as if we are looking through the horizontal pupil of an animal, further emphasizing our distance and detachment from the female form.
“Hanging Figure” is one of four Bourgeois drypoints in CPM Gallery’s newest exhibition, Figure Study. The Bourgeois prints are juxtaposed with four new drypoints from Pooneh Maghazehe, a Pennsylvania- and New-York-based artist who taught sculpture at MICA from 2014 to 2019. Both women are primarily known for their work in sculpture, and that tactile sensibility easily translates to these textured two-dimensional pieces.