new-york

Doug Ischar, Untitled (San Francisco, 1987), 2012, color photograph, 13 1/2 x 20".

Doug Ischar

Golden Gallery

Doug Ischar, Untitled (San Francisco, 1987), 2012, color photograph, 13 1/2 x 20".

Doug Ischar’s presentation of work at Golden Gallery might have appeared, to a visitor first walking in, a modest affair. Indeed, the gallery itself is no more than a slim slice of storefront in SoHo. Yet the seven works assembled in “Sleepless” all deftly challenge any notion of modesty, wholly bucking that word’s association with conventions of decorum and bodily restraint even while utilizing antispectacular formal elements and means. While quiet—clandestine, one might say—Ischar’s work opens to the eye like a clenched orifice to the right touch. If that metaphor sounds more than vaguely lewd, I mean it to: The artist’s approach balances the starkly explicit (realist even) with the deftly metaphoric (poetic even) and in so doing strangely heightens both effects.

For “Sleepless,” Ischar revisited works mainly made in the mid-1990s. Themes—masculinity, gay male

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