New York

Duncan Hannah

Semaphore Gallery

The return of figurative picture-painting has created something like a physics problem—for everything beautiful there is an equal and opposite ugliness.

Duncan Hannah finds himself in the very modern predicament of painting pictures that seem infuriatingly attractive. He has been called “the Barry Manilow of the New Wave” and the prophet of “the Age of Valium.” For some the only calm is sedation, but this is not the case with Hannah. His natural serenity is strong enough to egg on a critics’ frenzy which cries out for angst relief. No doubt there is a vocal and influential, if not large, group that needs loud, bent paintings to make reality seem safe by comparison. For them beautiful paintings only make things worse.

Hannah is more like the Henry Mancini of the New Wave, or the power-pop Balthus. He makes beautiful paintings that, like beautiful boys and girls, look like they should be

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