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January 3 - February 1, 2004, at Greenwood Chebithes Gallery, Orange County

by Roberta Carasso

Larry Morace, "Charlotte and Natalie's
Neighborhood #5," o/c, 40 x 48".

Tony Peters, "Seventh
Street Study," o/c, 12 x 12".

Scott Yeskel, "The Protest,"
2003, o/c, 40 x 30".

Tessa Mecham, "Window
Shopping," oil on panel, 36 x 48".

Daniel Wong, "New Town,"
oil on panel, 36 x 48".

The dynamism of city life has intrigued artists for quite some time. In Group Cityscape, Tessa Mecham, Larry Morace, Tony Peters, Daniel Wong, and Scott Yeskel, look at a similar subject but with individual eyes.

Morace, Peters and Yeskel are drawn to acceleration generated by the automobile as it weaves through the city. Morace paints metropolitan streets as seen through the window of his moving truck, endowing each painting with a blurred, quickening, and expressionistic quality. This is particularly effective when he paints lights reflecting on pavement as abstract angular lines across the canvas. Morace's broad gestural Fauve-like brushstrokes capture the pulse of a dizzyingly paced city.

Peters, on the other hand, is drawn to the sweep of bridges and freeways; their graceful curves and undulations give the impression that the viewer is actually driving on them. Yeskel captures light and movement in everyday scenes, particularly the transporting of pedestrians across busy intersections. Other ordinary people are depicted in the course of their urban day.

Mecham seeks out in-between places. She paints secluded hallways, alleys, and train stations, places where people are on the go. Her figures are anonymous, in the manner that people often appear in dreams. A remote quality permeates the image, made even more distant by a palette of blues and greens.

Wong has a completely different perception of the city. With an optimistic and quietly joyful viewpoint, the city becomes a setting for a personal journey. In his paintings there is a central protagonist--male or female--who contemplates the journey. The figure is alone but not lonely, typically surprised by the serendipitous events that take place. A figure in a diner, or holding a suitcase indicating an arrival or departure, a man in a boxcar anticipating the unknown, and another reading the first mail received in his new home. Wong's art is extremely low key and sensitive, colors are natural earth tones applied in a moody manner. For him the city is nothing more than a backdrop to play out his existential sensibility.