San Francisco

Louise Stanley, Donna Mossholder-Herresoff, Donelle Paint, Ann Shapiro

San Francisco Art Institute

I initially saw the work of Louise Stanley, Donna Mossholder-Herresoff, Donelle Paint, and Ann Shapiro in a corner of the San Francisco Art Institute exhibition, “Paintings on Paper”; those two walls became remarkably magnetic for me—without bombast, without scale, reverting to a menagerie of innocent/symbolic/cathartic imagery, the paintings succinctly outshone their surroundings. The stylistic common denominator among them—small pieces of paper adorned by the artists “circled, up,” as Paint says, “over a small, pointed, sharp brush, somewhat like painting one’s nails,” in a complex, personal, faux-naïf, communally-derived figuration—is a deceptive, dangerous tightrope. Taken too playfully, pursued with too little bite, it can become cute, pseudo-guiltless, boring (as other people’s dreams are boring, signifying everything and thus nothing) replications of an internal, belle époque,

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