March 31, 2020
While it’s easy to understand Copley (whose artist signature was styled CPLY) as treating Surrealist themes with a Pop art aesthetic, the artist developed an eccentric sensibility all his own. Nowhere is this more evident than in his treatment of sex. In the X-rated series (1972–75), for example, which took erotic scenes cribbed from dirty magazines purchased in Times Square, Copley blows up his subject material in bright colours – but also, somehow, makes it fun. The joy and lack of judgement in these scenes of entwined bodies makes them sexual, but avoids lechery. Even though the eye-popping outlining and foreshortened space can feel almost cartoonish, these depictions are as awkwardly charming as the real thing can be.