Prints and paper

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A show of prints from Two Palms Press by the likes of Elizabeth Peyton, Carroll Dunham and Chuck Close (shown “Self-Portrait #1 and #2) is up at Works on Paper gallery. It’s worth a visit.

Highlights include Terry Winters’ “Shadowgraphs” (shown, in a miserable copy which doesn’t begin to do them justice) with their weird shadows. It’s a reality not quite understandable but full of nice textures, patterns in dark and light, and a mix of sharp and soft edges in a not quite readable space.

Ellen Gallagher’s in-your-face takes on race issues often include wry stuff about hair and shifts in self-image. This one, “Duke,” named after a brand of hair pomade, (shown) is pretty hysterical. It’s a grid of tiny cartoon portraits (about 1 inch each), the passe hair styles–facial hair included–topped with globs of hair pomade (I thought it looked like silicone gel). Gallagher’s mix of anger with self-deprecating humor makes for edginess that takes the work beyond pat for-it-against-it polemics.

“Marc” (shown right) bears the self-absorption in his own beauty that typifies Elizabeth Peyton’s work–and Ralph Lauren models. The deliberately vapid coolness affected by the immature is as annoying as any teenager could hope. But it’s all around us, a part of the culture to be examined. There’s the secret to its success (alongside sheer beauty).

Peyton’s not the only hottie on the bill.

There’s Carroll Dunham, with “Closing In,” a series of prints of a Gustonian-pink human, shown bit by bit, first on his side, from testicular ear to grid of teeth, and ultimately (presumably) standing upright, from lapel to winged collar.

And there’s Matthew Ritchie with “Sea State Five,” a series of five color etchings with aquatint. As with all Ritchie, it’s got an inscrutable back story, suggestions of land masses and atmospheric force fields, and in this case an anime-inspired young thing. I confess to not being a fan, but the marketplace clearly disagrees with me.

Others showing include Cecily Brown, Jessica Stockholder and Mel Bochner (shown, “Aggravate,” a green-background version, but the one in the show has a blue background). I must say Bochner’s print did more for me than his paintings, most recently seen at the Whitney. The print enlivens what in his painting is a flat, deadpan surface.

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