Artist Katherine Stone
Goethe to illuminate the theme of her paintings: “We are shaped and fashioned
by what we love.” Stone is one of several artists included in Gallery 1261
show, “Group X-2
exhibition comprised entirely of paintings, spanning a variety of techniques,
styles, and themes. Despite the wide range on display, the compositions
resonate harmoniously together; realism and romanticism are echoed throughout,
as is a dedication to time-honored painting styles.
’ portrait paintings seem to come from another time and place. Isabelle’s
(2014) shows the side profile of an airy, reflective young woman
bathed in light. It is a mysterious, haunting portrait, echoing the traditions
of painters like Rembrandt and Chardin
distinguishes his painting with a snaking bolt of red on the bottom of the
’s portraits in the show reverberate alongside those of Xeus’.
(2014) captures female beauty with John Singer
Sargent-like poise. It feels like it belongs to a different era.
, who has said of painting still lifes, “Pulling something
extraordinary out of ordinary objects is incredibly satisfying,” presents
variegated shades of blue in Fuyulolling in Azure Niche
which permeate its dark, textured surface, contrasting beautifully with the
picture’s deep orange persimmons. Meanwhile, David Gluck
still lifes, like The Tool Shed
(2012), offer a meditation on
chiaroscuro, a murky scene save for the luminous aqua handle of a screw and a
blue cord running along the bottom of the painting. Daniel Sprick
shows a bizarrely constructed still life set. A bird skeleton is
strung up in front of a piece of blue china in the midst of sundry other
objects: stone jewelry, white roses, a moth, red ribbons, and a blue-bulbed
lamp—random as they seem, they share an unexpected consonance.
The atmosphere of “Group X-2” calls to mind the kitsch
which the contemporary painter Odd Nerdrum
have founded in the nineties. Nerdrum says of it, “Kitsch is about the eternal
human question, whatever its form, about what we call the human.” It’s a
tenuous label, often used to describe contemporary work that doesn’t feel
contemporary or cutting-edge. Though for most kitsch painters, the term is
deeply embraced, as this is exactly the point: working outside the structure of
contemporary and avant-garde styles, they are not liable to the pursuit of high
concept. The focus is on skill and earnestness. The result is humanistic,
emotionally charged painting, refreshing and un-ironic.