New York

Martha Mayer Erlbacher

Schoelkopf Gallery

Martha Mayer Erlbacher showed a number of paintings, watercolors, and drawings at Schoelkopf. Her work is figurative and eclectic. In several paintings, single male and female nudes stand or are enthroned on Renaissance terrazzo floors backed by the ocean, cliffs, or other majestic vistas. The paintings are uniformly pale in color, the figures reminiscent of Botticelli except for their lack of warmth and suppleness and a vacancy which makes them seem very surreal. Their similarity to late pre-Raphaelite painting twice removes them from their source of information. A number of small watercolors of various plants are much livelier. In another large painting, the figures and plants are combined: Three male nudes and three female nudes recline among very explicit foliage and rocks. Erlbacher is an ambitious painter, but at this point her larger work succeeds mainly in being pretentious.

––Roberta Pancoast Smith