January 4, 2008

Literally and figuratively in Houston

"Jackie Gendel and Valerie Hegarty," CTRL Gallery, Houston, TX. Through Jan. 12.

Brooklynites Jackie Gendel and Valerie Hegarty have shipped their paintings off to Houston for a show at CTRL. Gendel, what I call a classic pentimenti-ist, paints and over-paints, obliterating layers of imagery in the process, while leaving some vestiges of the painting's earlier states. Hegarty, who's work is more conceptual, re-creates iconic American paintings by artists such as Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Winslow Homer, Gilbert Stuart and Charles Wilson Peale, offering various scenarios for the physical deterioration of a work of art. In the Houston Press, Nick Keppler describes the paintings. "At the foreground of Houston-born, now New York-based artist Jackie Gendel’s work are simple faces or groups of stick figure-like people. 'The Stylist' features a simply drawn woman up front, with layer upon layer of oil paint in the background; it’s as if Gendel used the material itself to build up emotional or spiritual complexity....Valerie Hegarty, also a New Yorker, is less abstract but no less thought--provoking. Hegarty re-creates famous works of art and shows them literally destroyed. 'Homer Was Swept Away' shows a classical Greek painting with heavy water damage in a bent frame, as if it had been swept away in a flood, while 'George Washington Eroded' is a portrait of the first president, flaked, peeling and crumbling; it looks like the sort of thing archeologists from the year 3500 would extract from the ruins of what was the United States of America." Read more.

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