New York

James Rielly

Ramis Barquet

Death Makes Living Fun; We See a Darkness; In the Darkness Let Me Dwell: To judge from British painter James Rielly’s self-consciously maudlin titles, the music of downbeat singer-songwriter Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has been in heavy rotation on his stereo over the past year or so. But just as there is humor (albeit avowedly dark) and even an occasional glimmer of optimism to be found in Oldham’s lyrics, so Rielly’s canvases are not all doom and gloom. In fact, an overdependence on the sight gag ultimately proves to be their undoing, overshadowing the graver aspects of the painter’s chosen subjects.

Part of the problem also lies in Rielly’s handling of paint: a slightly awkward blend of flat color, tentative line, and heavy brushwork of the kind that seems to exist only to illustrate the inimitable qualities of the medium. Even when he makes a concerted effort to exploit the

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