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Back to Reviews 97

James Valerio, 

Fernando Canovas,

Oliver Wasow,
Untitled, # 320, 

Ron Baron, 
Built with Pride, 

new in new york

by Walter Robinson

James Valerio at George Adams Gallery
Mar. 4-28, 1997

Three major paintings and a number of 
studies make up this new show from the 
veteran realist, whose awesome technique, 
I'm led to understand, involves the use of 
photographs but not a projector. In our 
photographic era, advanced figurative 
painting is almost compelled to address the 
conditions of its own making along with 
whatever else the artist may take as his or 
her subject. For instance, in Translucent 
the father is cut off from his adult 
children as the artist is apart from his 
subject. Valerio depicts himself in the 
foreground gazing at the viewer, standing 
in the shadow of a kind of proscenium 
curtain with a fecund pattern of plants and 
flowers, separated from the couple who 
pose in the background apparently 
undertaking repairs to a lamp, omnipresent 
icon of the technology of Light.

Fernando Canovas at Annina Nosei Gallery
Mar. 8-Apr. 2, 1997

About 20 new works from the Argentine 
painter (b. 1960), who now lives in Paris, 
mix an earthbound painterly abstraction 
with both the figure of the amphora and 
actual pots, set on shelves built into the 
paintings. The universal, metaphorical 
character of the works comes from the 
elemental quality of the plain clay vessel.

Oliver Wasow at Janet Borden 
Mar. 6-29, 1997

Someone has finally figured out how to make 
photographs that are actually interesting 
to look at, and it's Oliver Wasow. You may 
remember him as one of the founders of Cash 
gallery in the East Village back in the 
`80s, where he had a hand in promoting much 
of the photo-based art that made 
Postmodernism sexy and fun. Now, his 
digitally collaged images -- picturing 
scenes from some kind of post-apocalyptic 
Garden of Eden, aglow with a ionizing X-
Files cathode-ray light, are on view here, 
at our favorite photo gallery in New York. 
Collectors take note -- at these prices 
these works are aren't a deal, they're a 

Ron Baron at Anna Kustera Gallery
Mar. 8-Apr. 12, 1997

At the beginning of the 20th century, 
Brancusi placed the sleekest of modern 
forms on pedestals of timeless balance. At 
the century's end, Ron Baron creates 
graceful "endless columns" of ... stuff -- 
suitcases, briefcases, cigar boxes, books, 
china, bowls, baskets, drums, an all-but-
endless inventory. As Brancusi summed up 
the ethos of modernism, so does Baron 
express the Postmodernist condition, in 
which each of us relates to the incredible 
variety of the manufactured world by 
assembling our own personal tower of ...