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'A Fast Thing Slow': Paintings by Phillip Lynam

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Phillip Lynam, "1893"
  • Phillip Lynam, "1893"

While the lion’s share of paintings here are abstract, they have a rhyme and reason about them. In the acrylic on panel “Overcranking," you see concertina wire-like spirals against a backdrop composed of alternating strips of gray and blue. There’s no discernible object being depicted here, but you get the sense of fluidity and motion hinted at in the title.

In “glassplate,” however, is something completely different: a young woman’s face peeking out from a dark, nightmarish backdrop that looks like it might have been stolen from Francis Bacon’s studio. The woman’s face — drawn with white colored pencil and graphite and painted over with acrylic — is so skillfully rendered that it looks like there’s a real woman peeking out from behind the panel. (Lynam uses here an old public domain photograph as a reference.)

In the acrylic on panel painting “1893," Lynam achieves a synthesis of his representational and abstract approaches. Lines emanate out of a single point near the bottom of the panel. Follow these lines upward and they explode into a crosshatched display of red lines against a subdued, whitish background. This image seems like it could have been conjured up through the curious, ecstatic eyes of a child looking up at a Ferris wheel for the first time. At the Harrison Gallery at Harrison Center for the Arts through Feb. 24.

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