New York

Marc Handelman

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Revisiting the aesthetics of American “propaganda painting” since, say, the Hudson River School, it’s striking how little has changed in 150 years. From Thomas Cole and fellow painters of nature, who celebrated America’s virtues via rugged, heroic landscapes bedecked with war-torn American flags, has evolved the synthetic and machine-generated luminescence of the current age—LED screens and TV graphics. Dazzling light plus sparkling vista evidently sells, irrespective of whether it’s an ideology or a product that’s on the block. It’s this disparate lineage of sources reliant on the glitzy treatment of light and a punchy graphic immediacy that is Marc Handelman’s meat and potatoes.

Handelman’s canvases behave like billboards: They’re large, flashy, and, for a few seconds at least, arresting. His is the type of painting likely to make intuitive, sensual “painters’ painters” turn in their graves.

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