This smashing debut by Dresden artist Eberhard Havekost consists of 17 oil-on-canvas works featuring meticulously painted images derived from unspecified film and video stills. All of the images are of modern figures and architecture, and many are close-ups of what appear to be businessmen and female movie and TV stars. One group of paintings, "Sniper 1-3," shows tightly cropped shots of a gunman looking through the viewfinder of a rifle. The people and places that Havekost depicts are bathed in a harsh, artificial light that adds to the work's sense of unease and often implies a scenario of intrigue, terror and murder.
While the images are dazzlingly clear, there is a consistent distortion in the cropping and brush work that conveys a feeling of loss -- a loss of the lost moment or, perhaps, lost hope. Even in the series of small canvases focused on the windshields of passengerless cars, "Auto 1-3, WD, 98," Havekost proffers an expression of modernist existential angst that is perhaps more gut-wrenching that anything found in the films or videos upon which his paintings are based.
Eberhard Havekost at Anton Kern (June 20-July 21) 558 Broadway, 2nd. fl., New York, New York 10012.