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Abstract Realism Free Staff Pick

When: Sept. 4-28 2019
Realism and abstraction, once mortal enemies, found a diplomatic solution in aesthetic intermarriage. Two painters who take real-world observations as the starting points for painterly improvisations are Michael Azgour and Phillip Griswold, showing at Slate. Azgour’s figurative paintings and Griswold’s unpopulated landscapes complement each other while sharing a common philosophical stance and commitment to discovering the image through the painting process. They’re also virtuosic paint-slingers, to use the slangy compliment from a few decades ago. Azgour depicts people in arrested action, and probably derived from both figure studies (a figure standing atop a chair) and photo or visual-memory snapshots (surfers, runners). Planes and blocks of color partially obscure or dislocate the subjects, suggesting that memory is elusive and contingent. Griswold’s landscapes may derive from real places, but their translucent planes and plunging perspectives push them toward the visionary and transcendent realm, as their metaphorical titles (Elemental, Passage) suggest.
— DeWitt Cheng


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