Thursday, June 21, 2001

William Austin Rent - College Ave. Library - June 12, 2001 - 3 stars

Rent, a Shortridge and Herron School of Art graduate, is a talented portrait painter creating crisp African-American-themed images steeped with religious overtones. His pieces are elegant and conservative much in the same vein as the new library currently displaying his work. Grace and sweetness prevail in these provincial, pretty portraits. Idealized subjects lack individual personality with straightforward, full-face poses. They are proud and expressionless - part folksy, part fundamentally formal with urban austerity. Personalities are suggested with symbols and visual clues. Features are smoothed out and sharply defined with very intentional and calculated brushstrokes. Colors are strictly true to life, though the environments of distant backgrounds are sometimes heavenly, misty and imagined. Despite, or perhaps because of, perfectionist painting tendencies, some of Rent's subjects have an off-sense of proportion. His style and technique are unquestionably his own. Through June 30, 2001; (317) 269-1732. - Mary Lee Pappas

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