Jim Peters' paintings of women, at Loyola, are expressionistic, psychological and disturbing. The upstate New York artist has been quoted as saying his art is "on the edge of sentimental," but sentimental is hardly the way they come across.
His figures are placed in often bare or ramshackle interiors, achieved with gestural passages that suggest emotional or physical upheaval, even violence. In some there seems to be no way out of the interiors, only a window too small or too high, or both, for escape.
At times these women seem to offer themselves, either openly as in "Annunciation" or with some ambivalence as in "Summer Cottage." At other times the woman appears to be a victim, as in "Second Gift." One is reminded both of the ambiguous adolescent female figures in Balthus' paintings and of de Kooning's violently painted women.
It is possible to interpret these works in more than one way. They may reflect male attitudes toward women, including sexual desire, possessiveness, the temptation to abuse or violate. They may reflect women's nightmares and fears of just such treatment, combined with their own desires.
At any rate, they reach the viewer; one cannot see these works and remain inert, for they remind us of our sexuality -- that we are all prisoners of desire -- and of all the turmoil that it causes.
"Recent Works of Jim Peters" continues through Feb. 7 at the art gallery of Loyola College, 4501 N. Charles St. Call (410) 323-1010, Ext. 2799.
In his small, modest paintings currently at Resurgam, Chicago painter Howard Gladstone arranges bits and pieces of the everyday interior into works that can be interesting in terms of composition, color and/or light. The best of them also reflect something of the endearing nature of things -- how a chair or a jar or any ordinary object can be almost loved because of its association with memories.
But there are too many works here. There wouldn't be if they were all successful, but some succeed while others simply don't work or are just too trifling to be on public view. Some judicious editing was needed here.
"Howard Gladstone Paintings" continues through Feb. 1 at Resurgam Gallery, 910 S. Charles St. Call (410) 962-0513.