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Review: Jonathan McAfee's 'Some Girls'


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"Varsity," by Jonathan McAfee.
  • "Varsity," by Jonathan McAfee.

4 stars

Earth House Collective; through Sept. 30.

This exhibit, on view at Earth House all month, features bold, Pop art paintings, and an opportunity to witness McAfree's trajectory as an artist.

You'll begin to understand Jonathan McAfee's trajectory as an artist if you look closely at his entry and exit points in this series of paintings. One of the earliest, "Girl Wearing an Ironic Headdress," (acrylic and oil pastel on canvas) portrays a young woman wearing nothing but a sleeveless shirt and an Indian headdress. She's depicted from thigh-level up, in motion, and the paints themselves seem to be in motion with thick brushstrokes of blue and white paint colliding behind her. The style is loose and free flowing, and you often see bold Pop-art colors where you might expect flesh tones. Somehow the painting remains true to its subject. So you have to describe this as a representational painting, despite the Abstract Expressionist influences.

Other paintings from this series are pretty much in this same vein. That is, he harmonizes his various influences well. But it's hard to say that about "Hairtoss," the painting that McAfee completed last for this series. Here you see a massive blue edifice of a woman depicted nude from the waist up. Where her head's supposed to be you see an explosion of thick brushstrokes in all colors of the rainbow. The result can't be described as harmonious or representational and the painting may invoke certain dissonant associations in your mind. It's absolutely breathtaking nonetheless.


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