reviews

  • Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2013, oil on linen, 21 x 26".

    Lesley Vance

    David Kordansky Gallery

    Still life has long occupied a lowly position relative to more noble pursuits of, above all, painting historical subjects, though even the portrayal of someone’s face would do. To depict flowers, foods, and tabletops is to look at the overlooked, as Norman Bryson puts it in his brilliant revisionist account, or to redress a historical inequity predicated on the format’s modesty and domesticity. Though the genre is often belittled, many scholars have explored the strangeness of the still life’s equal and opposite claims for symbolic meaning as well as for a resolutely material representational

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  • View of “Paul Heyer,” 2013.

    Paul Heyer

    Night Gallery

    Oarfish, a twenty-seven-foot-tall soft sculpture representing the titular deep-sea creature, its silver silk body speckled with sumi-ink brushstrokes, presided over Paul Heyer’s second solo exhibition at Night Gallery. With a rippling, fiber-optic fin that glowed red in the darkened space, the fish was a curiosity among a show that featured fourteen semi-abstract paintings. The serpentlike form was borderline hokey, something you might find in a puppet theater or at a child’s birthday party. Yet the quietly symbolic allure of the fish—a mysterious and rarely seen creature that lives in

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