Los Angeles

Josh Mannis, What About This Love?, 2014, ink on paper, 25 × 22 1/2".

Josh Mannis

Thomas Solomon Art Advisory | Bethlehem Baptist Church

Josh Mannis, What About This Love?, 2014, ink on paper, 25 × 22 1/2".

The tightly wound formalism of “Sexus,” Josh Mannis’s recent solo show at Thomas Solomon Gallery, might at first have seemed to run counter to his cutely pornographic subjects—grinning figures who stroke and fondle one another in parks and on floors. These scenes fill ten nearly square ink-on-paper drawings—eight in black, two in red—that were hung evenly on the gallery’s three white walls. But this buttoned-down hang and Mannis’s conventional medium were both support and stimulation for the works’ lecherous charge. Like Fernando Botero’s paintings of voluminous couples picnicking or Édouard Manet’s 1863 Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe,the drawings here contribute to an art-historical tradition in which portraits of bourgeois meals serve as pretexts for pushing both moral and stylistic good taste. In A Toast! (all works 2014), a couple sips wine on a blanket, their backs

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