chicago

Jim Lutes

Zolla/Lieberman Inc.

Despite a candy-colored palette and upbeat pictorial rhythms, these are Jim Lutes’ most discontented paintings. They exhibit a kind of stunned mania and a purposeful lack of conviction that is extremely absorbing. Lutes freely mixes diffident abstraction with exhausted figuration, creating images that are lazy, capricious daydreams with a profound sense of exhausted wisdom. There is a sort of fierce lassitude to his recent endeavors, a resignation that derives from his restless tinkering with imagery and with the language of paint that often serves to circumscribe or obfuscate them, all of which results in a bitter and moody vision.

These dreary, decidedly murky layers possess a curious gusto. Lutes begins almost all of his recent paintings with vestigial bits of imagery; they suggest narratives that are more or less loosely rendered with turgidly colored, indistinct fields. Bits of a city,

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