new-york

Emily Mae Smith, Medusa, 2015, oil on linen, 38 × 27".

Emily Mae Smith

Laurel Gitlen

Emily Mae Smith, Medusa, 2015, oil on linen, 38 × 27".

Christina Ramberg once took René Magritte on a blind date to see Disney’s Fantasia, but they couldn’t concentrate on the screen because of all the heckling from Joe Brainard and Evelyne Axell in the back row. So the four of them left the theater at intermission to chill out at Emily Mae Smith’s exhibition “Medusa,” where they all got along quite nicely. The end.

If that scenario sounds like your idea of fun, then Smith might be your kind of painter. The visual wit, wealth of allusion, and crisp, sure-handed execution of the Brooklyn-based artist’s modestly scaled paintings, whose protagonists are often animated besom handles reminiscent of the ones that afflicted a sleepy Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice, are immediately beguiling, but the works’ humor may also, unfortunately, lead some viewers to underestimate her talents. Emotive bombast on the one hand or preening rigor

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