houston

Perry House

Davis/McClain Gallery

Perry House bases his paintings on an assortment of recurring motifs he calls his “cast of characters,” shapes that combine aspects of sculpture, furniture, architecture, and everyday objects, many of which symbolize the artist’s past experiences. The names assigned to these motifs (“The Ball,” “The Throne/Chair,” “The Cash Register,” and so on) are individually mundane but cumulatively poetic; their obsessive reappearance as images in paintings—isolated, abstracted, or fused with quasi-Modernist patterns—gives them a talismanic power.

This vocabulary of private symbols could be pretentious were it not for House’s sense of humor, vented through confidently eccentric brushwork and a caricaturist’s knack for exaggeration: the crisscrossing stripes receeding into space in The Screen, 1991, suggest a minimalist grid formation constructed by a regiment of night crawlers. Similarly, the scrollwork

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 1992 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.