Los Angeles

Patty Wickman

Dan Bernier Gallery

Curious and complex, the three large paintings and additional studies comprising Patty Wickman’s recent show depicted contemporary Americans looking noncommittal, even bored in the face of confrontation. Crime, disease, and violence may be classic and epic themes, inarguably compelling subject matter for a painting, but these participants seemed nonplussed. Oftentimes their faces were hidden, and their bodies appeared simply numb.

In the exhibition’s title painting, A Thief in the Night, a shabbily dressed man is halfway out a window, clutching a computer keyboard and a candelabra. In the room he has just exited stand a man and a woman, their backs toward the viewer, quietly watching the action with resignation from behind a rope and two stanchions. Between them and the thief lies an Oriental rug neatly covered with the kinds of things that might be received as wedding gifts: “precious

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 receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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