Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Couple of Disappointments

I didn't attend the recent art auction at The LAB, but I stopped by on a preview day to take a look. There was a lot of work available, but little that was compelling. Other people I've talked to have had the same reaction. The show might be seen as a barometer for the The LAB's visual arts program, which has been weak this past year.

Last night I stopped by Adobe Books to look at the current show, and my spirits sank. In the back room are Alison Blickle's paintings of herself and (I believe) her boyfriend, done in a style somewhere between photo-realism and Alex Katz. The matte paint is applied thinly in a fairly literal manner, like putting on makeup. There is undeniable skill—as in the rendering of the chrome tubes in “Event Contender.” The work looks stronger in reproductions and would serve well as magazine illustrations. But as paintings they seem to have no breath.

There was a second show at Adobe, but it was too forlorn for comment.

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