My fellow Academicians
(an unpublished review for the New City)
Palette and Chisel Academy, through September 27
With it’s 50 hours/week of figure model sessions, the Palette and Chisel Academy is mostly about traditional European figure drawing, and nobody there does it better than Lawrence Paulsen, who seems to be time traveling back to the Royal Academy of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as he executes the deftly drawn contour line around the hips of a zoftig model. His portrait paintings also seem to date from that era, though they are much more subdued, not as powerful, and sometimes a bit ambivalent about the person being presented. Would that make him a Post-Modernist?
The Palette and Chisel is also a center for plain air painters, and James Hajicek is one its best, as he makes so many happy simplifications in that brief period of time in which an on-site painting can be done. He also does impressionistic oil figure sketches in that manner of Nicolai Fechin which has been so popular at the P&C ever since Richard Schmid was President in the 1980’s. This style can show excitement, but works all too well as a metaphor for modern life, with a hectic central figure that seems cut and pasted onto a neglected background.
(more pictures can be found here )