A sense of pessimism

August 07, 1991|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic

In the midst of a somewhat pessimistic statement about the state of the world and the place of art in it, Nicholas Corrin writes, "Yet I believe that art must survive, and that without it everything would be infinitely worse."

Corrin's expressionist paintings in the "Studio Artists' Exhibition" the School 33 Art Center, with their gestural surfaces, reflect both the rage and the commitment of his statement -- especially the better of these two oils, "As the Crow Flies." There is a sense of becoming rather than being about these works which represents both their strength and their weakness. The artist appears to be groping for something not yet quite within his grasp, but the struggle has its own integrity.

One could say much the same thing about Diane Kuthy's paintings, except that where Corrin's works reflect a somewhat apocalyptic world view, Kuthy's deal with inner, psychological states -- "interior landscapes," as she calls them. These oils speak of the intensity of their creation, even if they do not perhaps communicate quite as much as the artist puts into them.

There is less intensity and more finish about the work of other artists here, especially in the case of Scott Ponemone's highly illusionistic painting, "Red Tide," and Helen Sharkey's heiroglyph-like collages.

Of his three paintings, Murray Taylor does the most with "Importance"; its two figures' expressions suggest a certain ambiguity of relationship, especially the somewhat wistful look of concern on the face of the woman.

Alexandra Semionova's big drawing/paintings impart a certain sense of mystery. But the mystery about John Hayes' semi-abstract sculptures is why there are not more of a recent date; the one from this year is of a different scale from the group FTC of earlier ones, and looks more promising, but it needs company.

Michela Caudill's 19 photographs, collectively titled "Portrait of a Law Firm," constitute the only part of the show that leaves this reviewer completely inert. These pictures of members, offices and other aspects of a large local law firm no doubt mean much to the subjects, but they do not add up to a work of art that speaks to the general viewer.

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