JIM LUTES’ PAINTINGS ARE everything they seem on first impression: ugly, tragic, self-reproachful, gross, despairing. Somehow, they are also beautiful, comic, accusatory, delicate, and hopeful. They are all these contradictions, and more; and not balanced in some rational dualism, but schizophrenically staggered and sprawled across the surface of his canvases. Intensely personal, even private, these paintings are by and about Jim Lutes. But however singular and vulnerable Jim Lutes may seem, with his raw soul exposed before us, he is not alone. Confronting his own compulsions through an unflinching self-analysis, this artist finds that universal quality of ambivalence implicit in them. In dimensions ranging from the physiological to the psychological, from the personal to the social, he mines that territory where attraction and revulsion coexist. And no matter how deep he digs within

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