New York

Don Eddy

French & Co.

There is one painting in Don Eddy’s show at French and Company that I think is first-rate. The fact that it is based on a photograph seems quite justified by the complexity of its illusionism. BMW Showroom II is a picture of two BMWs under some bays of fluorescent light behind a showroom window which reflects with great clarity cars parked and a furniture store over the viewer’s shoulder, as it were. The whole image is an acknowledgment of illusionism, because it is an image of a literal occurrence of illusionism. There is also acknowledgment of the painting’s surface carried by the showroom window and of its transparency as a condition for pictorial illusion. Rather than being centrally focused, the image is focused in two different planes, a kind of simultaneity impossible in normal vision. The window reflection is a way of isolating the elements of the picture that are defined by light. As they break through the reflected image, the lights in the showroom become flat white parallelograms recalling the flatness of the painting’s surface. The sense of the image is that it accounts for things as they appear in the painting.

The other pictures in Eddy’s show are not as interesting, though they occasionally contain acknowledgments of literal elements of a painting. In Private Parking I, for instance, a chainlink fence crisscrosses the image completely as a reminder of the impenetrability of the canvas. I’m not too taken with the automobile as an image, and it is about the only thing Eddy paints; its character as an object of desire and as a means of “transport” is a little overworked, but the car is a primary reality in southern California where Eddy lives. Unfortunately Eddy doesn’t sustain the interest that he generates in BMW Showroom II and his paintings begin to take on the same twinkle and gloss as the objects he paints.

Kenneth Baker