los-angeles

Jose Luis Cuevas

Silvan Simone Gallery

There is no shortage of desperate views this month. Eliot’s lady has a full chorus behind her discreetly mur­muring, “life, what cauchemar!” The current ploy, however, is irony and Cuevas self-defensively labels his gal­lery of mutilados and madmen, his catalogs of tortures, gruesome games, and deformities, and his self-portraits as various historical connoisseurs of agony, a “Horror Theatre.” Borrowing Gothic themes and Romantic attitudes, Cuevas perhaps has the notion of up­dating them with black humor. He is more successful, however, in the ortho­dox persona of the Divine Marquis, and manages to “extraire la beauté du mal” in some exquisite miniature and slightly bigger drawings in ink and wash, though his large works in the same media all seem to suffer from a non­expressive clumsiness and a surprising insensitivity to his materials. Using a sensuous, space-describing line, Cuevas most

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