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Thursday, December 4, 2008

So Emotional

James Nagel's BFA show opened tonight, headed by his self-kidding title: "I'm So Emotional." His paintings were created around the theme of a breakup, playing around with images that cross the line between personal snapshots and glossy magazine ads.

As he was working his way through the images, he was dealing with a kind of haunted sense of commercialized deja-vu. Memories of a departed person suddenly resurrected in the stylized daydreams of perfume and clothes ads. Magazine ads are airports for all sorts or eros -- thwarted, hopeful, mangled, obsessive -- to land in. Some strips of paint on the canvasses look like they've been laid in at an auto-body shop.

James' process of working towards these images was partly a process of abstraction. Patterns, and especially stripes, came further and further to the fore. After looking at the paintings it was hard not to see stripes everywhere.

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