Continuing through April 28, 2014
Given the frequent inclusion of children in Eric Kasper’s paintings, a viewer might assume that his themes are playful, or at least benign. But a work such as “Norway” seems to disprove this. It’s an oil on an unstretched canvas measuring 171 inches wide presenting a mother and two children seemingly relaxing by a lake on one side of the composition, while a ghostlike man blends into the woods on the opposite side of the canvas. The chasm between them opens up all kinds of guesses as to their familial ties — if they are a family at all.
In addition to narrative punch, Kasper’s technique is also praiseworthy, particularly his experiments in dabbing multiple colors to create flesh tones, paired with the careful rendering of landscapes and structures.
Kasper’s works have a gift for being startling, heavy in mood, and altogether enigmatic, which helps explain why they are so absorbing. A viewer could take away several interpretations of “Sunburn,” for instance, in which three bare-chested boys pose against a strong yellow sky. Off to their right: a burnt cross. And in other paintings as well as in the smaller-scale drawings, it’s possible to construe racial tensions, criminal behavior and sexism.