9/7/2009 - Photorealistic painting joins photography at gallery - The Birmingham News

SEEING IS BELIEVING: REA­LISM IN THE NEW AGE.
Jen­nifer Hunt Gallery. Through Sept. 26.

Mark Bradley-Shoup builds a sense of total isolation with "Conifer Guard Shack in Niagra Mist."

With pristine clarity and chaste taste, Jennifer Hunt is broadening her gallery offerings to include paintings along with some of the best contemporary photography available. The paintings on view are in the realm of photorealism, yet they often move to certain sur­real qualities that reflect a dreamlike state. Hard edges and knife-edged forms create exqui­sitely clean views of objects and figures. In a most basic sense, they are also good old-fashioned drawings that give visual realism a good name. Ben Polsky draws with a pin­point accuracy that is remi­niscent of studies by Albrecht Durer. Polsky concentrates on details of destruction, trans­forming debris into remarkable still lifes of exquisite grace and vivacity. Mircea Suciu paints the image of a man from behind. The man looks out of a small window of flat blue. The gentle, surreal and neutral space and the limited color range of brown hues create metaphysical musings. Mark Bradley-Shoup paints achingly pristine dumpster containers that float in space, or a "Conifer Guard Shack in Niagra Mist" with a precision that builds into a sense of total isolation. "Window No. 8," by Gwenessa Lam, is a densely dark space marked by a long rectangular window, shrouded by a creamy closed Venetian blind that al­lows just enough light into the space for the viewer to discern a black leather bench. Richard Pasquarelli's "5:25" presents a rambling house in black silhouette with a few lit windows against a vivid blue sky that is instantly reminiscent of several Rene Magritte paintings. Lindsay Mound's "Self-portrait as Abraham Lincoln" is a combi­nation of painting and photogra­phy that has the unearthly feel of a Jekyll-Hyde transformation in progress. As an offshoot of postmoder­nism, these works combine pho­torealism with minimalist alle­gorical suggestion to achieve an iconic clarity that is provocative and memorable.

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