philadelphia

Jim Lutes

Temple Gallery

Jim Lutes’ painted imagery—empty beer cans, cigarette butts, Fritos bags, and TV sets—initially seems hardly worth celebrating. What keeps us from turning away from a world we know all too well is the sense of humor and subtle formal intelligence his paintings reveal. Even in a painting as thickly populated with everyday debris as The Spot, 1989, the specificity of the images gives way to the power of paint and to a range of suggestive implications. In Sobriety, 1990, the autonomy of the paint is taken a step further; a large blob of painted marks enters a room, empty except for a single chair, like some giant head, a presence from another world. The strength of this image lies in the direct presentation of this unlikely encounter of the chair and the paint. Never Knew Who He’d Be, 1990, depends on a similar tension, only here the chair is absent and the painterly surface of layered marks

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