Monday, August 2, 2010

Portraits of Donuts

Written after visiting "Luscious," paintings by Emily Eveleth, at the Smith College Art Museum.

Why donuts? Well, they're donuts. They're also flesh and blood, shape and color, and whatever else you need them to be.

The canvases are huge, rendering the donuts surreal and completely out of context. Given their size, the paintings are simultaneously representational and abstract.

Sometimes, it's the mess inside that's most interesting. When the donuts appear broken, they're as dramatic as torn flesh. Yet, when intact, they are curvy and sweet as a Classical nude. Dark backgrounds make the donuts glow. One is painted bright white as if the painting is a photograph taken with too much flash by donut paparazzi.

Are these paintings poking fun at traditional figure painting? Some seem to be. Some, with their round, red holes are pretty damn sexual, with donuts pressing on and draping over one another. Other are simply playful. In all, this exhibit feels serious and lighthearted simultaneously. It is fun but not pointless, thoughtful but not heavy.

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