los-angeles

David Humphrey

Patricia Shea Gallery

David Humphrey’s paintings are a vision of family members in the Freudian funhouse, a whirlpool of holes and poles, of leering toothy smirkers with painfully swollen ears. There’s an everybody’s-talking-about-me quality, a buzzy self-consciousness thing going on that jumps from painting to painting and causes the entire body of work to hum with big-time anxiety. A sort of laugh-track esthetic is operating here, in which gaps pave the way to humiliation. These paintings kick around ideas of carnality, of growing up, of composing a facial identity for the camera, of being found out—the compulsion to make up morbid stories about relatives just for the fun of it, because terrible things might’ve happened, or should’ve happened, because being a child in the regimented parental fortress brings out delusions of playful revolt. What you have in Humphrey’s work is Distortville in which family

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