Los Angeles

Nancy Reese

Gagosian | Beverly Hills

Until recently, Nancy Reese was best known as Ed Ruscha’s collaborator, the artist who painted many of the sublime backdrops to Ruscha’s pithy superimposed texts. Now Reese has emerged, literally and figuratively, from Ruscha’s shadow with a series of eight works that stake her claim as a painter of brilliant technique and visual bravado, but muddled concept.

Reese’s initial gambit appears to center upon an almost seamless fusion of traditional landscape and still life genres, a pushing of received information to its limit, all the better to deconstruct its rhetorical fallacies. Spectacular sunlit alpine vistas conjure up images of National Geographic photo spreads or the sentimental landscapes of the 19th-century American Luminists. Paradise Obscured, 1986, with its ominous mountain range blocked out by the foreground presence of a sullen, frowning boy, combines the mystical blue hues of

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