cover image Isabel Bishop

Isabel Bishop

Helen Yglesias, Rizzoli, Yglesias. Rizzoli International Publications, $45 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0976-9

Like her close friend Reginald Marsh, realist painter Isabel Bishop set down city street scenes in a quick, reportorial style. Her sketches and oils of working women from the 1930s and '40s can be read almost as a feminist statement. In her ``Union Square'' series and related vignettes of New York, Bishop, who died in 1988, captured odd or coarse facial expressions as well as the quiet dignity of ordinary people. Her self-portraits are striking, and her relaxed nudes, awash in color, are at once sensuous and ethereal. In an oil and tempera series of random, aloof walking figures done in the 1960s and '70s, Bishop integrates multiple points of view into one pictorial space, suggesting the terribly isolating tendencies of modern urban living. Novelist Yglesias has a sensitive eye in her sympathetic essay which pins down the artist's ``piercingly loving'' quality. (Aug.)