Continuing through January 31, 2013
The sculptor Constantin Brancusi wrote, “When we are no longer children, we are already dead.” Because the art profession is now so driven by hype and academic anhedonia, we are prone to forget that wonder and curiosity are crucial to creativity. Inez Storer’s recent paintings, positing an ocean voyage to the French Riviera during Matisse’s heyday, reject such strategic calculation. So wholehearted is Storer’s homage to the Master that one might take some of the works (e.g., “Painting with Matisse,” “Tangiers,” “Grand Duchess”), with their joyous color and lyrical grace, as coming from the master's hand. Other works (“Making Adjustments,” “Sailing with Matisse to Tahiti,” “Superman with Velasquez”) combine painted elements with collaged or digitally printed letters, typewritten texts, Old-Master portraits and cartoon superheroes, evoking innocent delight in la douceur de vivre, past or present.
If real-world travel always has its difficulties and longeurs, all is luxe, calme et volupté in these sumptuous, fictional dream visions. These are modernist versions of Watteau’s elegant escapism, though not without contemporary touches (“Revisiting Rauschenberg,” “Dancing with Fred and Ginger,” “Her Court”). “Offering Respite from Turmoil” is the title of Storer’s childlike painting of an ocean liner captioned in handwritten travel-brochure text; this could have been another title for this luxuriantly captivating show as one imagines Matisse at rest in his armchair, taking it all in avec plaisir.