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Art inspired by photography focus of new museum exhibit

Works by more than three dozen artists included in museum's “Photorealism Revisted” exhibit.
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Published: January 30, 2013

Audrey Flack includes a burning candle, lipstick tubes, cupcakes, rainbow-hued dabs of paint, and a charming story about a youthful Marilyn Monroe discovering makeup at an orphanage, in a collagelike 1978 oil and acrylic painting.

Animal subjects are dealt with, brilliantly, in Peter Maier's large, glassy-surfaced painting of the head of a tiny “Chick,” and in Richard McLean's oil of a work horse and a dog at a stable (tended by two employees with their bag lunch).

Still life paintings, many of them influenced by Pop Art, are another strong element in the show, including Roberto Bernardo's oil of candy sticks in a glass jar, and Ralph Goings' oil of two doughnuts leaning on a coffee cup.

A winged “Art Angel” hovers over devil-like toy figures and eight planetlike marbles circle a larger marble sun in deftly executed 1986 and 1994 oil paintings by Tulsa native Charles Bell (1935-1995).

David Parrish relies on toy figures rather than actual people — a James Dean-like “Rebel” and a “Bass Man Cookie Jar” — in two large oil canvases, done in 2008 and 2006. Italian artist Luigi Benedicenti does a good job of combining portraiture with still life in “Sara Solitario,” a 2011 oil panel of a thoughtful young woman in scanty attire sitting beside a picture of a luscious fruit tart.

Chuck Close supplies two head-and-shoulders portraits — a black-and-white 1986 etching of his wife “Leslie,” made with fingerprints, and a 2004 silk-screen of “James,” that seems to consist of a host of tiny abstract compositions.

Dealing admirably with our fascination with shiny and not-so-shiny objects, ranging from motorcycles and trucks to vintage, luxury and racing cars, are works by Goings, Maier, Tom Blackwell, Ron Kleemann and Cheryl Kelley.

Detail is less obsessive, too, in Susan Sykes' small 2008 watercolor of people standing in front of the brightly lit facade of the “White House, December 7, 1941,” as cars drive by in front of them. Bringing to mind a cool, contemporary version of “The Last Supper” is a second small work by Sykes, called “Violet Cafe No. 2.”

The touring photorealism exhibit is highly recommended during its run through April 21.

— John Brandenburg


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