Last licks & picks

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Thought I’d just throw up some images of work I saw earlier this month that made me think.
palumbo, anthony
At Artists House, there’s a constant struggle to keep that Academy tradition from going the way of the Model T.

I am happy to report that some efforts did have moments of modernity in the current show. So here are some images and a comment or two:

Anthony Palumbo, who can paint up a storm, continues a struggle to find his own voice between a rock (his brother David’s paintings) and a hard place (PAFA). In this outing, I especially liked the direct stares from a couple of paintings of women. Here’s one of them, “Emergency Phone,” (right top, 34 x 32 inches, oil). The subway-train pictures were nice, but felt a little too close to David’s work.

Among Rachel Constantine’s academic figure paintings, this portrait gets the prize for communicating a specific personality and a specific point in time–i.e. now (left, “The Sculptor,” 23 x 25 inches, oil). The frame with the retro lettering and backwards language seems mannered and not appropriate to the subject.

Amidst a row of mostly generic portraits by David John Kassan, this gorgeous chocolate-brown painting of a gorgeous brown man was arresting with its antique death- portrait frontality and its elongated shape. Who is this guy? Why are the words at the top in Italian and why are they there ? Although someone from the gallery was kind enough to do some research to translate for me, the meaning remained opaque. But the words seemed less off-base than those around Constantine’s figure because the painting played it both ways–antique and modern. It also was quite particular and passionate (right, “Dispersivo,” 18 x 10 inches, oil).

On the opposite wall, Kassan had a row of too familiar but beautiful Transcendental skies and seas on small canvases.

At Qbix is a show of artists from Artforms Gallery in Manayunk.
minervini, robert
Robert Minervini’s “Sleeper” (left) wrapped in pink and purple cellophane is a gift, but not really a boy toy.

And Etta Winigrad’s “No & Yes” (right) unglazed Trojan horse is an Airstream on splayed legs, doors in his sides revealing interior passengers with who-knows-what insecurities. Anyway, I liked the concept of horse as RV, the weighed down comic posture, the cylindrical shapes, the burnt clay, and the suggestions of some psychological drama.

Rochelle Dinkin’s PowerPuff Girl paintings remain loopy (left), the pattern nicely paired with the positively Pre-Raphaelite image nearby by Lorraine Alexander, whose highly accomplished fabric collage is technically impressive but conventional, like saccharine Italian postcards.

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