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Art Review: Various: "Summer Group Show" 

Wednesday, Aug 18 2010
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The best art demands to be scrutinized at length. How often do you see people peruse a heralded piece for a few seconds and then move on? Each of Steven Albert's paintings at Hespe's "Summer Group Show" is a serious study — an opportunity to take in multiple perspectives from a single scene. Window on Market, for example, depicts San Francisco's Zuni Cafe and uses the eatery's reflections and tilted panes to show 10 moments at once, including a young pedestrian looking in, an older man looking out, an industrial truck passing by, and a nearby wall covered with graffiti. It's painting as sociology, with upper and lower classes stuffed into the same urban moment. It's also gorgeously drawn and symmetrical, even with all the competing elements. Albert,whose paintings at Hespe are at least 3 feet tall or wide, specializes in San Francisco cafe settings with windows and verticals (poles, trees, panes) that extend a simple view into a pastiche. Of late, he has also been working on graffiti scenes — intersections, walls, and vehicles that are overwhelmed with tags and spray-painted drawings. At Hespe, Stroll embodies this new phase, with two men walking past a giant sneaker-wearing alligator holding a clock. Like Window on Market, Stroll has subtle, surprising quadrants. One of several artists at the Hespe show, Albert is worth spending time with — as much as you can spare.

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Jonathan Curiel

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