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Chris Finley at Jack Tilton
In this show, appropriately titled "Warp Zone: Section 2," Los Angeles artist Chris Finley presents more of his brilliant but head-jamming paintings, and one equally bizarre sculptural object.
Finley is inspired by video games and cartoon imagery, but his meticulously rendered works are impossible to categorize. Scream Mom Drool Dog Stretch Portrait is one of the easiest paintings to "read." It's a hard-edge rendering of an open-mouthed, bald-headed figure wearing Philip Johnson glasses, who is presumably screaming. The painting could relate to the late British painter Francis Bacon's "screaming" nurse images, themselves based on an Eisenstein film still, although Finley, in his work, seems far removed from a traditionally European sense of angst.
The 6-by-6-foot canvas Drool Fish shows another wacky scene. Here, a strange, droopy figure, or perhaps two extremely distorted figures, rests on the floor beside a blue dog bowl. It's hard to say exactly what's going on in the painting, but it is riveting none the less. Finley's work, like the car crash you can't look away from, seems to portend of some gorgeous yet terrible Digital Age meltdown.
Chris Finley, "Warp Zone: Section 2," Jan. 5-Feb. 5, 2000, at Jack Tilton, 49 Greene Street, New York, N.Y. 10013.