Main Street mastery

Katie, Mike Tarantelli

You have a couple more weeks to see a marvelous invitational show at Main Street Arts. It includes work from eight artists working in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region. The work is consistently great and often surprising in a way that makes you keep coming back to look at many of the paintings. I’m proud of the work of a few of my friends in this one: Tom Insalaco’s consistently mysterious and usually dark portraits and figures in his contemporary baroque style; Jim Mott’s night paintings, brilliant, quickly executed grisaille studies full of feeling for nature and a hint of spirituality; and Chris Baker’s increasingly masterful gouaches from Scotland and many other places. One of his paintings, Skye, below, was my favorite in the show, and I’m eager to see his two-person show with Jean Stephens at Oxford Gallery soon. Kurt Moyer’s big representation of a forest floor works as all-over abstract, the way some of Welliver’s denser forest interiors do, with a sumptuously handled surface. Mike Tarantelli’s small portraits reminded me of early Lucien Freud before he started troweling on the paint like a possessed mason in his signature way, back when he was doing those ultra-sharp faces and figures, whose precision looked almost imaginary. There’s also great work from Belinda Bryce, Lacey McKinney, and Sarah Sutton. Everything is fresh and sometimes startling in its immediacy. I love Main Street Arts. It’s a good friendly space, bright, with big storefront windows and plenty of room for larger work and fresh intelligence in its curating. The show ends Oct. 6.

Skye, Chris Baker

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