New York

Duncan Hannah

Charles Cowles Gallery

Duncan Hannah’s paintings are proof that if representational art is not dead, it is, at least in this incarnation, so diffident as to invite healthy skepticism. Though these works are heavy on narrative and atmosphere, like the best sort of houseguest, each seems content to withdraw gracefully into the background. Despite their mild demeanor, however, these paintings are far from dull. In fact, they are even disturbing in a whispery sort of way. If in the end one isn’t quite convinced of their brilliance, at least they make a palpable impression.

As perhaps befits an artist who deals quite earnestly in anachronism, Hannah fashions himself as a romantic. The catalogue that accompanied his recent retrospective at Illinois State University features not one but seven photographs of the artist in each stage of artistic development: toddler, preteen, bell-bottomed hippie, leather-jacketed bohemian,

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