Thursday, September 13, 2001

Phil Campbell "Him and Her" - Hot House Gallery - Sept. 13, 2001 - 3 stars

Campbell's latest work is probably his personal best. A bold light blue wll, demonstrating his shrewd curatorial competency, is a backdrop for 20 intimate 5-inch-by-7-inch nude black and white watercolor portraits of him and girlfriend-muse Jo. A triptych of her inspirational image carries the same rich blue hue. Some images are derived and distorted from digital photos, though they appear to be true to life. A graceful arm branches from an indefinable body and a nude fetal positioned seff-portrait is subtly and paradoxically missing Campbell's head. The clever exclusions are delicate and almost subliminal. The levels of comfort and ease with the paint application are apparent when you investigate the all-in-a-row wall of perfectly aligned tiny nudes. The richness of gray tone is parallel to the softer, more comfortable brushstrokes while the heavier, tighter lines equate to the more severe black/white contrast, The overall treatment is, by and large,dexterous and pretty impressive. Through Oct. 16, 2001; 317-686-0895. -Mary Lee Pappas

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