“Verne Dawson,” Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY. Through June 20. Ken Johnson reports: A popular strain of contemporary painting combines goofy, juvenile imagery — pirates, exotic animals, fairy-tale characters — with lush, sophisticated painting. Judith Linhares and Dana Schutz are good examples. Verne Dawson is another. In addition to small, deft, loosely painted pictures of birds on tree branches and wires and a landscape with Goldilocks and the Three Bears in the distance, Mr. Dawson’s ninth New York solo features three big paintings made with a generous, brushy touch on toothy canvas and depicting scenes from the story of Jonah and the Whale….Hanging with the Jonah works is a small painting unlike anything else in the show: it hints at what the story means to Mr. Dawson. “A Few Moments,” a hallucinatory, semiabstract composition of bulging eyes, flowers, sky and various unidentifiable elements, makes Jonah’s adventure seem like a metaphor about a kind of mind-altering, soul-transforming experience. You wonder what greater depths Mr. Dawson might go on to fathom.
Karl Haendel, installation view.Read the entire “Art in Review” column here.