Francine Koslow Miller

  • Ann Craven

    Two concurrent and complementary exhibitions of oil paintings from the past four years by Ann Craven attested to the artist’s masterful treatment of natural imagery. With these colorful works—made after a variety of sources, including bird paintings by Ed Ruscha and Ross Bleckner, deer canvases by Gustave Courbet and Gerhard Richter, vintage illustrated field guides, and still and digital photographs—Craven has invented a unique vocabulary that proves her a gifted animalier and a significant markmaker. Her recent juicily painted birds perched among hollyhocks, cymbidium orchids, and

  • Kojo Griffin

    Atlanta-based artist Kojo Griffin continues his meditation on human bestiality in the fourteen mixed-media paintings and works on paper in his first solo show in Boston, where he grew up. Here the boldly colored backgrounds and mystical calligraphy surrounding his menagerie of animal-headed people and personified rag dolls in the works seen at the 2000 Whitney Biennial were replaced with muted color fields lightly penciled with patterns suggestive of DNA helices and chemical or mechanical diagrams. As before,though, apparently innocent anthropomorphic teddy bears, donkeys, elephants, and

  • Gerry Bergstein

    The trompe l’oeil self-portraits and grisaille “mound” paintings in Gerry Bergstein’s recent show testify to his growing understanding of the complicated, cathartic role of the contemporary narrative painter. In the former, the artist’s cluttered, darkly comic works include meticulously painted reproductions of black-and-white head-and-shoulders photographs of himself wearing various exaggerated facial expressions, a serial approach to identity familiar from the contorted character heads of eighteenth-century German sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. The largest paintings in the series—all tall

  • Laura Owens

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where Laura Owens spent a month in residence in the spring of 2000, provided the ideal site for the Los Angeles-based artist’s first solo museum show: Owens’s clever and oddball mixing of styles and vocabularies is a perfect match for the eclecticism of Mrs. Gardner’s Fenway Court. Owens, who is known for her paintings and collages characterized by their quirky levity and kitschy twists on everything from high art to “women’s work,” once again offered up an idiosyncratic balance of stylistic elusiveness and retro sweetness. Many of the nine paintings and

  • Ayae Takahashi

    Japanese-born, Boston-based artist Ayae Takahashi reads between the lines of popular fairy tales, converting their messages into complex and personal hybrids of East and West. Part of an ongoing series of narrative work begun in 1998, the four small, intricate panel paintings (all 2001) in her second solo show, “Enciphered: Snow White,” reflect theatrical tableaux based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In diluted black alkyd on stark white gesso grounds, Takahashi references historic Japanese ink scroll painting as well as contemporary manga imagery. Borrowing devices from Japanese theater

  • Chuck Holtzman

    LONG KNOWN FOR HIS INTRICATE, architectonic wood sculptures, Chuck Holtzman has spent the past five years focused exclusively on works on paper. Originally meant as an adjunct to sculpture, drawing has become an end in itself: Featuring delicate gestures and lines in charcoal, india ink, and Conté crayon, often made with drafting instruments, many of these works have also been cut, sanded, and reconfigured like neoconstructivist jigsaw puzzles.

    The earlier works here blend solid shapes with vaporous ethereal forms in a kind of abstract narrative; organic yet precise arcs, ellipses, and circles

  • Nuno de Campos

    In his second solo show, “Lap and Beyond,” New York-based Portuguese artist Nuno de Campos continued to explore the triadic power relations among himself, his art, and the public through his favorite vehicle, the female midsection. Along with two tempera-on-panel postscripts to last year’s “Lap” series. The artist exhibited nine intricate works on paper in graphite, charcoal, and chalk The Oedipal dimension implied in the earlier work—loosely based on the Virgin in Michelangelo’s Pietà—is made explicit in these three series of photo-based drawings, installed as triptychs. Setting aside the notion

  • James Stroud

    To make the paintings in his latest exhibition, “Linear Strategies,” James Stroud secured square aluminum panels to a metal rack like those used by commercial printers and applied blue, red, and yellow oil-based printing inks in grids and stripes with a roller. Despite the limitations of this procedure and the exacting rigor of his techniques, borrowed from printmaking (he is also a master printer), the geometric abstractions that result are surprisingly luminous and seductive.

    Six of the seven grand installations on view were long rectangular arrangements of the painted aluminum squares (all

  • “Customized”

    “CUSTOMIZED: Art Inspired by Hot Rods, Low Riders and American Car Culture,” was a vast improvement on the Guggenheim's “Art of the Motorcycle.” Organized by assistant curator Nora Donnelly, this ambitious exhibition featured nearly seventy works in all media, roughly divided into three sections: drawings and paintings by car customizers; photographs documenting the community surrounding hot rods and low riders; and examples of contemporary artists' appropriations of the look and attitude of car culture

    The ICA's main gallery housed work from the '30s through the '50s by hot-rodder artists, who

  • Philip Guston

    In 1970, at the height of an established career as a leading Abstract Expressionist, fifty-seven-year-old Philip Guston confounded critics and alienated fellow artists with a show of figurative work: ominous narrative paintings featuring cartoonlike Klansmen. Now the stuff of modernist legend, Guston’s transition from his so-called abstract impressionism to a heavily painted, moody figuration is revisited in a groundbreaking exhibition co-organized by Joanna Weber, acting curator at the Yale University Art Gallery (where the show debuted last spring), and Fogg Art Museum associate curator Harry

  • Clay Ketter/George Stoll

    Although you might not expect it, Clay Ketter and George Stoll share a number of concerns. This ambitious exhibition (aptly titled “Impostures”) of thirty-seven recent sculptures, paintings, and drawings brought their work together for the first time. Responding to conceptual and formal similarities, curator Lelia Amalfitano juxtaposed Ketter’s architectural wall paintings and building-material sculptures with Stoll’s handmade replicas of mass-produced products like Tupperware, toilet paper, and sponges to confront what she describes as “the modernist utopian ideal and the quintessential domestic

  • Randall Deihl

    ALONG WITH SCOTT PRIOR and the late Gregory Gillespie, painter Randall Deihl has earned the moniker “Valley Realist” with his painstakingly detailed oil portraits and nostalgic, campy vignettes. Most of the twenty-nine still-lifes, portraits, and landscapes recently on view capture the scenes and characters of Deihl's beloved Pioneer Valley in rural western Massachusetts. Quirky yet familiar images of old bottle collectors, wizened farmers, and elderly couples in laundromats fill panels and canvases ranging in scale from eleven by ten inches to four by seven feet. Deihl is also fascinated by