Thursday, July 12, 2001

"Sports Heroes - Two Views" James Fiorentino and Elizabeth Yorgen - National Museum of Art and Sport - July 12, 2001 - 2 stars


Thirteen true-to-life head and shoulders sports portraits by the mega accomplished James Fiorentino (23 years old) leave little to the imagination unless you are a student of watercolor. Executed deftly in watercolor, they are amazingly photo realistic and beyond perfect technically. You can see every hair on Cal Ripkin Jr.ís arm. Skin tones are rich and real, proportions are so anatomically faultless that it's no wonder Fiorentino was admitted into the New York Society of Illustrators at the tender age of 19. Images from the 1999 Topps Heritage Baseball Card series he created are on view also. In a big-time contrast are "Temple Games," four mixed media sculpture/conceptual works by Elizabeth Yorgen. Oozing glue gun goo, they comically portray basketball, hockey, baseball and football stars as "idolized in a very similar manner to the way that athletes were idolized in ancient Greece," an artists statement reads. It then makes a parallel to the Temple of Zeus in Olympia where these said athletes are were actually lapiths and the centaurs. Each piece has three humbly painted panels of athletes paired off in physical struggles (tackles and dribbles) flanked by four crude sets of wood colonnades. Could these athletes blasphemously be playing in the bastardized pronaos? Like friezes of the Classical Severe style, the scenes are dramatic, compact, and simple. A paint by numbers primary color scheme prevails as does a coloring book composition. Colors stay inside the lines with model plane precision. The pediments carry modern arena imagery flanked by 3D playing utensils: hockey puck, toy basketball hoop, you get the idea, etc. Through August 12, 2001. 317-274-3627. - Mary Lee Pappas

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