new-york

Paul Waldman

Castelli Gallery

Paul Waldman’s recent exhibition presented as many paintings as sculptures, raising the question of the relationship between the two. Remarkably beautiful and nuanced, these paintings—whose surfaces comprise oil paint on multiple layers of paper-thin gesso—are at once delicate and baroque: flowers flourish against a gridded pictorial field where a naked dwarf is often seated in a corner, sometimes in the company of a woman, also naked, who in one work is seated on a toilet, in another has her head in a vase. The sculptures are officially birdhouses, but covered as they are with archaic, grotesque ornaments—sometimes floral, sometimes mythological—they seem more like cells for the soul in an underworld prison. Eccentrically elegant, historicizing, and perverse—like the paintings—each could be a home for one of Waldman’s dwarfs.

Both paintings and sculptures are fantastic, highly stylized

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