September 19, 2008

NY TImes Art in Review: Larissa Bates

In the NY Times, Karen Rosenberg wonders why Larissa Bates, whose small ink-and-gouache paintings are guys-only versions of Darger’s impish, militant Vivian Girls, wasn't included in the Henry Darger show at American Folk Art Museum. "In the 'MotherMen' series, centaurlike creatures give birth in the woods. The 'Lederhosen Boys,' young scamps with chubby limbs and blond curls, perform mysterious séances on rocky bluffs. The landscapes in most of these paintings are at least as interesting as the figures; their sources include Nicolas Poussin, the Northern Renaissance artist Joachim de Patinir and Persian miniatures. Paintings by the contemporary artist Hernan Bas, of dandyish young men in lush, windswept landscapes, also come to mind."

"If the paintings combine these diverse influences, the large mixed-media installation in the center of the gallery teases them apart. A life-size, gold-painted plaster figure of a headless MotherMan and three smaller papier-mâché Lederhosen Boys flank a mirrored platform. Embedded in this structure is a video monitor showing highlights from wrestling matches, as well as actors costumed to look like characters from the paintings. This diagrammatic piece is a wrong turn in an otherwise compelling fantasy world." Read all of today's reviews here.

"Larissa Bates: Just Hustle and Muscle," Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, NY. Through Oct. 18.

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