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Review: Ephemeral Pleasures: Paintings by Jacqueline Pichardo

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3.5 stars

Big Car Gallery. There's a strong narrative element in Jacqueline Pichardo's work that relates to the seedy nightlife in her native Las Vegas. Threads of this narrative — about girls "dealing with the concept of hedonism," in her words — are posted alongside the paintings in this show. In "Late Night Text Messages," (pastel and acrylic on BFK) where the words "Eat it" are imposed over the face of a young woman, the narrative becomes part of the painting. "Can you Please Release me?" is a quieter painting, depicting a girl nude from chest up, with her mouth blotted out, denied the ability to communicate. The dark backdrops of these paintings seem to convey the isolation that might accompany any headlong plunge into the hedonism of Las Vegas nightlife while "Chasing the Egoist" conveys a mood of self-exploration as well as alienation with its scantily clad subject showing herself off to you in a reclining position. The shadowy backdrop, the muted colors and the young woman's seemingly feigned interest add up to a provocative portrait. You might, at the same time, find the wispiness of her hands distracting. But it wouldn't be accurate to label the paintings of this artist, the recipient of Big Car's 2010 Emerging Artist Scholarship and a student at Herron, as merely student work. These paintings earn the moods they convey. Through Nov. 20; 450-6630, www.bigcar.org.

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