New York

James Havard

Louis K. Meisel Gallery

There is a certain playful fascination in trompe l’oeil illusionism, and its use in James Havard’s painting is no exception. Harvard’s paintings, however, are not representational in the usual sense; he fools our eye by using vocabulary taken from the traditional language of painting, such as brushstrokes and heavily smeared geometric shapes. This is done illusionistically by creating the projected shadows of these “pictorial objects.” As a result, they appear to float over the picture’s “real surface,” as if suspended on an imaginary transparent plane. If Havard’s paintings are to be interpreted as abstract, then the use of trompe l’oeil, which is the most conspicuous feature of his paintings, is questionable. The very use of this illusionistic method forces one to a regressive reading of the pictures. Since abstract painting negated traditional illusionism, calling it back undermines

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