new-york

James Nares

Fawbush Gallery

Why do the drawings of an ex-filmmaker who only marginally made his mark in the late ’70s underground cinema in New York now command our interest? There is an originality and authenticity to James Nares’ work that comes not from a combative assertion of some new revolutionary esthetic but from a sensitively tuned subversion of expectations. The forces that stir the cultural stew in the arts today tend to be far subtler than the dramatic upheavals of an avant-garde. This generalization, though fragile, may account for the peculiar potency of Nares’ modest, unimposing oil drawings on paper, a large selection of which from 1982 to ’86 were shown here.

You look at these drawings and immediately you think, Okay, no need to invest much time on such minor graphic gestures—they seem as hurried and cryptic as the most thoughtless of signatures. Yet you look again. Once these pieces have conned the

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