A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#39 <previous/ next> Artletter index October 15, 1996

Magnificent Pretty Boy at Brasil Cafe	11/1

Intricate, laborious space filling with black and red ballpoint pen on manila
envelopes. Each drawing is the result of an accumulation of loosely planned
doodles. Much of the visual interest of the work derives from its unusual
reversal of colors: the Pretty Boy creates his designs not by drawing lines,
but by carving them out, creating white lines and shapes by filling in heavy
black pen all around them. Most drawings center on abstracted masklike
faces accompanied by stars and dart shaped spaceships, framed by
patterned bands of quasi-tribal derivation to form magic T.V. viewing
screens. Half-joking free-association captions explicate the hermetic
iconography. Rather than illustrating a pre-conceived inner vision, the
Pretty Boy's doodles serve as the vehicle for wordplay. It seems as if the
pictures come first, then the labels.-B.D.

Lee Littlefield at the Art League Sculpture court	10/25

Whose imagination has not transformed the twisted branches of the crepe
myrtle into surreal figures? Littlefield burdens these natural, open-ended
muings into trivial and silly declarative statements by pruning and painting
branches to make obvious the obvious. The melodramatic splashes of blood
red paint are almost silly enough to be good.-B.D.

Kim O'Grady at West End Gallery	11/1

O'Grady is working up a wicked cool vocabulary for (I am told) larger works
later. Twenty-six swatches of different drips, swipes, scrapes, picks,
scuffs and glops  feel like the revving of the engine before a drag race, each
little painting filled with compressed energy which is just waiting to be
unleashed on a large scale.I Lied, Alcohol, Ugly Shade of Lovelies, Titty
Dancers South  and Lack of Vibrant Personality  hold luscious technique at
arm's length,  resisting the romantic urge of weaker works like Spine Loss
and Uvula .  Kim's best yet.-B.D.

Esquivel contemporary art, 2222 Morgan St.	11/1?

Inaugural show of another pay-as-you-go, co-op gallery. A tossed salad of
unremarkable works by half a dozen artists who paid a moderate fee for
their wall space, with no commission taken on sales, no long term
committment, and energetic publicity. Go ahead and look; it doesn't cost you
anything. Who knows, something interesting might turn up.- B.D.

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