Kenneth Blom at Jason McCoy Gallery

Kenneth Blom, SummerKenneth Blom, Summer (2009), oil on canvas, 39″ x 47″; courtesy Jason McCoy Gallery

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Devotees of painting will forgive Kenneth Blom’s slick affectations if only because the formula he tweaks is sharp and smart. The Scandinavian artist is making his U.S. debut at Jason McCoy Gallery with five medium-sized canvases, each of which isolates lone figures within streamlined architectural spaces. The cloistered air of dehumanization recalls Francis Bacon and the chilly, second-hand remove, Gerhard Richter; a soupcon of Neo Rauch supplies a frisson of historical dread. Flesh, photography and alienation, then, determine Blom’s pictorial and thematic tics. If the resulting paintings don’t offer fresh insights, they do reiterate them with clean efficiency. Summer and Leave, in particular, denature their romantic impulses with brisk, assembly-line precision.

© 2010 Mario Naves

Originally published in the February 23, 2010 edition of City Arts.

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