New York

Adam Straus

Nohra Haime Gallery

Adam Straus’ small paintings encased in sculpted lead frames are engagingly bright, colorful, and surprisingly lighthearted, despite his avowedly apocalyptic concerns. Lightness and lead: the growing toxicity of the environment, the endangerment of the world, our civilization’s impending loss of “nature” are all packaged here in this series of pretty paintings with names such as Fresh Air and Disintegrating Man, both 1991. But what these works are saying and the effect they have are not so easy to pin down.

While elegiac landscapes juxtaposed with words recalling the destruction of the environment at first seem predictable, the merry visual punch is surprising. It’s as if the author, rather than warning us of anything, has simply stated the obvious. It’s the lack of seriousness here that is so creepy. For instance, there is nothing especially somber about the crudely wrought lead frames;

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