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Richard Artschwager at Lehmann Maupin
 
     
 
Pastoral II
1999
 
Running Man
1998
 
In this exhibition, Richard Artschwager presents a group of paintings and one wall-hung sculpture that evoke the atmosphere of a moonlit drive through the mountains. One of the images -- Pastoral I -- in fact shows a Land Rover-type vehicle starkly silhouetted against the night sky, with the yellow beams of its headlights illuminating a misty mountain road. There is a touch of menace in the air as the car speeds off into the unknown. Painted in Artschwager's characteristic shades of gray on corrugated panels, the series Pastoral I, II and III features dramatic rock formations and swirling skies reminiscent of a dun-colored van Gogh. Like a work in the grand tradition of Romantic painting, Artschwager's Pastoral II focuses on a luminous yellow orb -- the sun or moon, one can't be sure. Artschwager seems to have something in mind other than pretty landscape painting. Pastoral II, like the exhibition as a whole, suggests a spiritual journey.

Hanging on the wall in a rear gallery is Running Man, the shadowy figure of a man in hasty flight made of animal hair and pigment on shaped masonite. A reminder that Artschwager is also a brilliant sculptor, this hairy piece is among his most intriguing 3-D works. On view in another room is a four-part hologram, titled Eugenia, that shows the image of a reclining woman, seemingly an appropriated image from the 1920s or '30s. Look for the oval shape that seems suspended, thanks to the hologram, in mid-air several feet in front of the wall. Like everything else in the show, this work is haunting and moving.

Richard Artschwager, Oct. 29-Dec. 18, 1999, at Lehmann Maupin, 39 Greene, New York, N.Y. 10013.

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