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Urban Zellweger, Everything You Need for Smalltalk, 2015, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 × 39 3/8".

Urban Zellweger

Shoot The Lobster | New York

Urban Zellweger, Everything You Need for Smalltalk, 2015, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 × 39 3/8".

For “Tables and Landscapes” at Shoot the Lobster, Urban Zellweger’s sprightly first New York solo show, the young Zurich-based artist presented six paintings from 2015 that mined art-historical conventions, and while at first this might sound familiar—yet another tiresome, “critical” recapitulation of painting’s heroic, bygone forms—Zellweger did something different. The paintings he displayed were positively alive, teeming with a playful surrealism that is at once inventive and unstable.

The most striking works were the “Tables” of the show’s title, thanks largely to Zellweger’s introduction of a disarmingly odd figure: a dog’s body with a human torso in place of a head. This grotesque, stitched-together beast recalls, on the one hand, a modern take on a mythic hybrid—a griffin or chimera concocted from domestic pets and stylish menswear—and, on the other, the

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