New York

Robert Seaver

Leslie Cecil Gallery

In this series of untitled still lifes, Robert Seaver displays a profound understanding of the expressive power of things. Working in pastel, a medium known for its rich physical properties, Seaver builds dense and dynamic surfaces and succeeds in bringing out, with enticing results, the palpable dimension of forms. The objects that interest Seaver are representative of the artist’s own wide-ranging esthetic tastes, which span the fields of fine and decorative arts. Some objects, such as the 18th-century French silver coffeepot that figures prominently in one composition, are encoded with historical significance. Others, such as the playing cards that appear in another work, speak directly of the artist’s interest in the symbolic aspects of reality. Through his meticulous and, in many instances, eye-dazzling meditations on the appearances of things, he conveys the force-as-visual-metaphor that objects in still-life ensembles can carry. Using the device of the close-up to heighten the objects’ impact, Seaver makes the individual forms in his tabletop compositions come across convincingly. The overall intensity of the images is further developed by the sophisticated fine-tuning of scale and color.

Seaver’s paintings cast a spell and compel us to see things afresh, as if for the first time. They intrigue us with their possible meanings and prompt the construction of dramas or little stories about them. Realism here turns into the stuff of fantasy, as we become drawn into the poetic construction of these spaces.

Ronny Cohen