Les Rogers, "Last House"

Les Rogers's brooding paintings show a new maturity of style.

  • Bright Bedroom

Bright Bedroom

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Last time around—which would be four years ago—Les Rogers found his inspiration in front of a computer screen, in the form of the image of an 18-year-old Texan girl he found online. As his new paintings reveal, he’s since been moved by more traditional sources: the view from a window, a landscape, a skyscape and what looks to be his studio. He’s deep in a brown study, as the saying goes, both stylistically—his color palette is mostly brown—and psychologically: a sense of brooding permeates the show.

The colorful slasher shenanigans of his earlier canvases peak out here and there, but mostly Rogers flexes his mature painterly muscles. On the one hand, he takes more risks. How else to explain the verve it took to exhibit such works as the sea of clouds rendered in varying hues of purple or the stupefyingly Picasso-esque painting of a bare-chested woman whose head is obscured by a vase of flowers? In his previous works, Rogers pilfered and borrowed from major historical artworks, but he slyly interjected these samplings within his own Abstract-Neo-Expressionism-meets-Photorealism language. You had to dig hard to unearth them. Now the references are unequivocal and unabashed. And that takes guts.

Yet on the other hand, it could be contended that he has given in a little too readily to history. Except for the elongated painting of a nude woman whose extended hand, sporting black nail polish, juts out toward the viewer, the paintings contain no recognizable present-day elements. They are instead strongly steeped in Luc Tuymans--like nostalgia and sentimentality. The dark mood is engrossing nonetheless, and furthermore disturbingly befits our dark hour.—Nana Asfour

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