new-york

Maria Scotti

Ruth Siegel Gallery

Maria Scotti’s paintings are more correctly drawings. Her sketches of classical nudes and other familiar passages from art history compete on the same canvas with her transcriptions of drawings by her sister’s child. Both sets of images are borrowed, yet Scotti seems to own the more sophisticated images, drawn with a delicate line that travels from an unbroken, unerring, Picasso-esque contour to one that repeats itself nervously, either to depict movement (as in a walking cat) or the artist’s changes of heart. In contrast to this elegant thoroughbred line, which is by turns skittish and certain, is the “child’s” drawing—awkward, blunt.

In many of these untitled paintings, which date from 1985–86, the female nudes exude a perfume of competent and relaxed guardianship; they seem to make the world safe for the scrawled figures. In the painting with the accomplished rendering of a cat, a

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