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New York
David Kassan
Gallery Henoch
555 W 25th Street, New York, NY 10001
March 12, 2009 - April 4, 2009

(photo)Realist Painting

The problem with photorealist paintings is that they are entierly dependent on their source material. “Call Box”, “Peeling Paint and Through” succeed because the photographs have confusing content. In these works Kassan plays with the photorealist illusion by painting quasi-two dimensional spaces. These works focus on details in worn wheat pasted plywood (the source material has probably come from one of the city’s construction sites). The compositions are overly centrist, but here the detail format makes this less noticeable than in the portraits. The larger portrait pieces feature mostly young women in front of graffiti backdrops. There is the same exacting photorealist technique, but here the effect is less impressive. There is less push and pull without the illusion of flatness. I feel that the artist’s shutter clicks either too soon or too late. The facial expressions appear partially posed. In most portraits I am drawn to the subject’s face, however in this case the hands and feet are more compelling. Kassan could compensate by playing with the composition, but the faces remain in the center of the canvass. The lack of compositional tension and throws the portraits off. I suspect Kassan is using a fully automatic camera and models. A little experimentation in traditional photographic production could revolutionize the work. The talent and passion are all there; the subject just needs to be pushed partway out of the frame. All and all, an impressive exhibition.

Posted by Jesse Hensel on 3/27/09 | tags: realism graffiti/street-art figurative

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