Artist Reviews

Valeri Larko

“Valeri Larko: Two Decades,” at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey (May 2–August 8, 2010), surveyed the career of an artist who finds formal beauty in sites often ignored or dismissed as examples of urban-suburban blight. Larko finds her landscapes in what she terms the “gritty contradiction” of the derelict... More »

John Constable

We are accustomed to thinking of landscapes in terms of grand vistas—the visionary storms and sunsets of J.M.W. Turner or the American sublime of Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt. But before the nineteenth century, landscape as an autonomous genre—rather than as mere backdrop to noble human or divine events—ranked low in the academic... More »

Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle (1853–1911) belongs to the golden age of illustration, a creative effloresence born of technical innovations, especially in color printing, an energetic publishing industry and an attitude—articulated in the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement and its international offshoots—that everyday objects and images were as... More »

Peter Colquhoun

Two series of paintings, “Made in TRiBeCa” and “The Highline,” are the result of Peter Colquhoun’s long fascination with urban views in and around New York City. Colquhoun’s history with the older areas of Manhattan began in the early 1980s. He maintains a studio in TriBeCa, as well as a residence in Greenwich Village located near the... More »

Thomas Kegler

Thomas Kegler, who made his solo exhibition debut at John Pence Gallery in San Francisco this summer (June 10–July 9, 2011), approaches nature with the devotion of a Hudson River School painter. Kegler, a native of western New York State, attempts to recapture both the techniques and the sensibility of the nineteenth-century American... More »

Steven Assael

The contemporary realism revival, first spotlighted in a few discriminating galleries, has been finding new audiences through museum surveys and retrospectives. “Steven Assael: Illusions of Reality,” at the Naples Museum of Art in Florida, offers a substantial selection of work by this remarkable painter, who combines old master skills... More »

Jacob Pfeiffer

Jacob Pfeiffer is a meticulous craftsman with a cheeky sense of humor. An exhibition of his recent trompe l’oeil paintings, at Meyer East Gallery in Santa Fe, was rife with visual puns, and he remarks that he wants “to offer the viewer a respite from the serious times that we live in.” This premise is illustrated, on the most rudimentary... More »

Vincent Giarrano

“New York Scenes,” Vincent Giarrano’s show at Susan Powell Fine Art in Madison, Connecticut (May 7–June 13), offered agreeable evidence of the continuing vigor of the artist-flâneur tradition. In this series of recent oil paintings, Giarrano focuses on a fairly narrow swath of the urban experience, observing women moving around the... More »

George Billis Gallery

A recent show (April 17–May 29, 2010) at George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles juxtaposed three very different contemporary realists, demonstrating once again that monolithic definitions of this complex movement are largely unrewarding. The most interesting work on display was by Jorge Santos, a technically accomplished figure painter... More »

Brad Reuben Kunkle

Over the centuries and across cultures, gold grounds have been used to suggest what W.B. Yeats called “the artifice of eternity.” Shimmering surfaces evoke otherworldly environments: paradisal backdrops in Byzantine mosaics, the hagiographic heaven of medieval painters, the stylized natural world of Japanese screens, the jeweled... More »

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