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David X Levine
at Eight Modern, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Alex Ross

Continuing through January 29, 2011

Oddball hybrids of automatist strategies and obsessive rendering, the graphite and colored pencil drawings of New York-based artist David X Levine embody an intense devotion to popular music. The majority of the exhibition's twenty-three works on paper, which were generated between 2003 and 2010, bear allusions to both salient and tangential characters of twentieth-century pop, including Carol Mountain (Brian Wilson's unrequited high school crush), Sharona Alperin (of "My Sharona" fame), and Freddie Mercury. As for their art world corollaries: the works most patently suggest degothicized permutations of Wes Lang's musically haunted drawings, colorized versions of Vija Celmins' fanatical mark making, and the at once process-oriented and ardently lyrical ballpoint pen compositions of Il Lee. To achieve his often patterned and loosely anthropomorphic abstract forms suspended in fields of intensely saturated color, Levine applies thick layers of pencil strokes to paper before buffing his surfaces to a waxy, nearly reflective finish. The results are at once fiendishly meticulous and alluringly nonchalant - successfully evoking the breed of casual obsession and peppy melancholy to which millions of AM radios once turned. In a perfect world, his works would garner the same attention.

Eight Modern

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