Adam Grosowsky @ Karin Clarke Gallery

The new show of paintings by Adam Grosowsky, currently occupying the Karin Clarke Gallery, is easy to like.

These large, figurative oil paintings are all luminous and exist as a whole, in a harmony of deep blue and vibrant orange. Overheard in the gallery, a true statement: “They really vibrate.”


Whereas the subject matter is relatively mundane: primping nudes, boys with birds, portraits of women, it is the paint that speaks for itself.

It feels altogether more about the paint anyway.

Grosowsky is generally excellent at creating a beguiling surface, in his best paintings exploiting the oft-described “sensual” quality of oil paint, although there are a few pieces that read as disappointingly dull upon closer inspection. What is important is the illusion crafted by the artist's hand. Both hasty and careful, the image is built upon a series of suggestions – a sweep of translucent paint hints at shape, a play of light, or the smallest nuance of a human feature.


My favorite, a small “Self Portrait,” has all of these best qualities. It is wet looking and therefore satisfyingly pleasant to look at, the boy with his bird existing in an inky in-between state, fixed yet disappearing.


This is what holds the work together, perhaps more so than the color palette. Grosowsky's figures are halfway there, both receding into and emerging from their dark frame. In them I see both a flit of movement and a second-length pause. I catch a glimpse of recognition, like catching the eye of a familiar-looking stranger (albeit momentarily).