Expressionistic paintings of women remind us of sexuality and desire

January 21, 1992|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic

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.

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