New York

Julie Roberts

Sean Kelly Gallery

By the time you got to the four views of domestic architecture in Julie Roberts’s recent exhibition “Home,” you’d already met Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and the victims of Jack the Ripper, plus a group of artists, poets, and figures from history and literature, all seen dead. Holmes and Watson came first, as if to promise that the show’s mood would be set by the detective tale’s calming pleasure in fatality, gentle mental challenge, and, in the case of Conan Doyle, its agreeable loll in Victoriana. Past this opener, though, you fell into actual horrors: a painting and eight graphite drawings, mostly in the oval portrait format, showing women of a corpse-like mien that is usually ambiguous but sometimes quite gruesomely categorical. Home? I think I’ll find a hotel.

These painstakingly executed works on Jack the Ripper make blatant the morbidity underlying Roberts’s art. It is equally

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