Serenity — or chaos

September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Adrienne Sherman | The Sporting Life

Adrienne Sherman | The Sporting Life

REVIEW | SUNNY ZENTNER

A FEW YEARS AGO, I was at the opening of a new exhibition of Adrienne Sherman’s paintings in Seattle. People were fascinated by a painting of a fox. They could not believe it was two-dimensional. They kept moving around, first to the side, then back to the front. It really looked as if the fox was casually walking out of the canvas and into the gallery.

She uses tiny brushes to paint fur, and her animals want to be petted. But they also want to be taken seriously. Her paintings are either a lovely serene scene or chaos about to get worse. In “Imaginarium,” her new exhibition at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco, a fox with a birdcage on her head is careening down a hill pursued by birds. Why? A monkey with a crown is being tipped over by another monkey. Just play, or a power grab? In Bareback Rider, her dog Febbo on horseback is going somewhere, now, away, without parental permission. But where? And what will happen next? In Masquerade, someone with a half-fox mask looks left. The eyes we see through the mask are fox eyes; the nose, mouth and body are human. Are we looking at a “skin changer” about to become fully fox? Or fully human? Or forever at the mysterious halfway point?

Adrienne Sherman often paints her dreams, so we are in that nebulous world of her infinite creativity. The depths of image, mystery, color and form are transformed into captivating and fresh images that are haunting, beautiful and unforgettable.

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