Chicago

Miguel Conde

Young-Hoffman Gallery

For an artist who traffics in the grotesque, Miguel Conde is remarkably restrained. He is no Jim Nutt whose glibness reeks of the horrors he pictures, nor does his work seem bitter or resigned. Indeed, its strong quality is that the button-eyed, stump-fingered, split-headed characters can look so matter-of-fact. For one thing, Conde is totally in control technically. Every one of the works on exhibition—pen-and-ink or ink and gouache drawings done from 1973 to 1977—is scrupulously made. In a half-square-inch area of a typical head I counted four different colors and ten separate types of pen mark. The impression of debauchery is mitigated by Conde’s studious craftsmanship; significantly too, such technical means allow the work to be visual, rather than hyper-moralistic or rhetorical.

As for what concerns Conde himself, none of his works has any title, though several permeating “themes”

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