Critics’ Picks

Thorina Rose, Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe 1, 2005.

Thorina Rose, Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe 1, 2005.

San Francisco


Heather Marx Gallery
77 Geary Street
July 13–August 19, 2006

The four artists in “Naughty” don’t exactly engage in spank-worthy behavior—unless you consider lascivious, baroque impulses criminal. If anything, Keith Boadwee, whose early works involved dolling up his penis to resemble Marge Simpson, might best be described as a mischief maker. His new, '80s-media-inflected collages evoke similar perversions, but this time he’s shifted the focus away from the self. In these works, the Oakland-based artist mixes chubby-chaser gay porn, Britpop pinups, seemingly prepubescent topless girls, and stately official photographs of Charles and Diana. Elsewhere, James Gobel channels an opulent, hothouse fantasy world of stout dandies in flounced, ruffled collars meticulously rendered in candy-colored felt and yarn, as well as more casual drawings. With their double chins, meringue tufts of hair, and beauty marks, one wouldn’t expect to find these characters anywhere but atop an ermine bedspread. Such an accessory would also fit comfortably in Ken Weaver’s oil pastels, in which chandeliers hang heavy and an overwrought interior provides a lush setting for couples engaging in oral sex. Almost photographic from a distance, these monochromatic red drawings tend to break up at proximity, though the velvety pastel adds a dollop of tactility. In Thorina Rose’s gouaches, the action moves outdoors. Her Versailles fantasies depict female satyrs, courtly maidens in blindfolds, caryatids, and, most memorably, a man’s bare ass sprouting a bouquet of lovely posies. It’s as if Nancy Spero let her goddesses out for a romp—a perfectly welcome summer lark.