New York

Russ Warren

Phyllis Kind Gallery

The protagonist of Russ Warren’s new paintings is a potato-faced poppet who is sometimes bald and sometimes sports a little patch of hair atop his pink head. Wandering in asexual, “New Image” nudity through a landscape that simultaneously manages to evoke Braque and Louisa Chase, he gets caught up in a series of allegorical encounters. Imagine a Balthus coloring book based on Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and you have it.

Pushed out from the ground by shadows which, regardless of the landscape’s undulations, break in severe right angles, this character floats in and out of tableaux with titles like Lust and St. Sebastian. The former portrays him kneeling before a female with individually delineated strands of red hair à la Morris Hirshfield; the latter has him pierced by arrows, the butts of which are decorated with pasta strands masquerading as feathers.

What baffles me about these paintings

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