new-york

Michael Howard

Michael Walls Gallery

Four big paintings in Michael Howard's show are modeled on illustrations for hunting tales in magazines. These scenes of confrontation between armed hunters with dogs and wild bears gave Howard the format for painterly demonstrations. The colors on these large two-panel canvases—mainly brown, black, blue, green and red—form a palette as simple as a woodsman's plaid. Howard doesn't reproduce his magazine models. He brushes his pigment on freely, brusquely indicating the figures of man and beast and making the areas between them into partly independent spiky shapes. Maybe Howard doesn't care what subjects he paints. For four days prior to his show, he hung nine other artists' paintings, all of them based on the cover picture of a sporting goods catalogue. That pre-exhibition implies that Howard thinks of his subjects as mere containers for style. But then his treatment of manly outdoor scenes

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