Artist Reviews

Jacob Collins

In May, John Pence Gallery in San Francisco presented recent work by Jacob Collins, a major figure in the contemporary realism revival and founder of three influential teaching institutions: the Water Street Atelier, the Grand Central Academy of Art and the Hudson River School for Landscape. As an artist, Collins functions at a very high... More »

Ephraim Rubenstein

In an age when traditionally bound books are apparently being replaced by implements of the digital age, when textuality is supplanted by disposable “info,” this exhibition, at George Billis in New York City, evoked our ambiguous relationship to the book as artifact, as still life. These recent paintings of book piles are not trompe l’... More »

Robert Taplin

In his recent exhibition, “Everything Imagined Is Real,” at Winston Wachter Fine Art in New York City, Robert Taplin presented a series of nine sculpted contemporary scenes (all 2008) based on Dante’s Inferno. In the first, I. Thus My Soul Which Was Still in Flight (The Dark Wood), a groggy, naked man climbs out of a bed in which a woman... More »

David Kassan

A prolific contemporary realist, Brooklyn-based David Kassan combines abstract backgrounds with portraiture and figurative skill in experimental arrangements. His recent exhibition at Gallery Henoch, “Introspections,” comprised of drawings and trompe l’oeil “texture studies” in oil, as well as large figurative paintings, demonstrated his... More »

Pierre Bonnard

“Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors,” recently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, demonstrated that, contrary to much critical thinking, modernism is not incompatible with natural, easily accessible beauty. Bonnard’s (1867–1947) luminous paintings give the viewer a jolt of pure pleasure, yet a sharp visual intelligence underlies... More »

John Moore

The four industrial landscapes in John Moore’s recent show “Thirteen Miles from Paradise,” at Hirschl & Adler Modern in New York City, carry a good deal of art historical resonance. Moore finds beauty in steel mills and utilitarian bridges, in the tradition of Precisionists such as Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler. Those artists of... More »

Koo Schadler

Koo Schadler’s December exhibition at J. Cacciola Gallery in New York City, titled “Illuminated,” revealed a deep appreciation for Italian and Northern early Renaissance art. She achieves jewel-like effects using the traditional medium of egg tempera and mimics historical formats, such as the manuscript page and the altarpiece. Her... More »

Laura Karetzky

Narrative painting, that mainstay of the Victorians, emulated the novel, just as the grander genre of history painting aspired to epic poetry. Narrative was one of the things modernism claimed to have jettisoned. Yet it kept cropping up throughout the twentieth century, in, for example, Jacob Lawrence’s social-history sequences and... More »

Frederic Edwin Church, William Bradford, George Chambers

The unearthly beauty of Earth’s polar regions has long stirred the imaginations of explorers, writers and artists. Mary Shelley ended her 1818 novel Frankenstein with the doctor’s pursuit of the creature across Arctic wastes, and Edgar Allan Poe included Antarctica in his Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838).... More »

Luciano Ventrone

In May, Bernarducci Meisel Gallery presented the first New York City solo exhibition of paintings by Italian Photorealist Luciano Ventrone. The mimetic clarity of his work is uncanny. In fact, the illusion of three-dimensionality he achieves in his still lifes and nudes far exceeds the flattened verisimilitude of the camera eye,... More »

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