This is the last week to catch the work of Jason Coates, Steven Little, and Bruce Wilhelm at ADA Gallery.
The show looks really good - all three do similar work and gallery-owner John Pollard has mixed it up so you aren't quite sure if you are looking at a Steven Little or a Bruce Wilhelm unless you look it up on the pricelist. Truth be told, the ones I like the best all turn out to be Wilhelms*.
Bruce's work has a wonderful lightness of humor and touch. He strikes just the right off-hand balance between the not-quite-there Little's and a little-too-much Coates. He's also got a terrific sense of color.
Coates works in the same quirky figurative manner as Little and Wilhelm but his work is easier to identify because it is bigger, more like "painting" than drawing, and generally seems more labored. One of his pieces is called Dinosaur Mountain Bridge - a green triangular canvas of a brontosaurus encircled by an upward spiraling elevated highway. This is hung next to one of Bruce's smallish pieces called I Would Like To See Godzilla Turned Into A Building For People To Live In. Jason's work will be featured in the upcoming Mid-Atlantic edition of New American Paintings so check it out!! Raft is nice - very simple and clean.
This style is enormously popular with young artists and buyers right now. You can see stuff like this at Spector Gallery in Philadelphia, Richard Heller in Santa Monica, or Zach Feuer's gallery in NYC. Does it come from Chris Johanson? I think it really took off after Jerry Saltz's rave review of Jules De Balincourt's first show at LFL. This work is charming and likeable, easy to make and easy to sell. Glib Art. It's easier to name the galleries than name all the artists. It's all over.
I'm starting to sound a little harsh - sorry! I should share that some of my own stuff isn't too far removed from this manner of working either - I'm critiqueing myself a bit as well. I'm glad to see that the newest De Ballincourts seem to be better than the big debut.
*Full Disclosure: I own a Bruce Wilhelm!!