CAC show mystifies, fascinates
by Jerry Stein
New Yorker Beck sets his characters in mundane situationsa summer picnic, a gathering in an artists studio, a partybut the mood is ominous.
His colors can be vivida straw-yellow blonde, glowing baby-blue crescents on a woman's dress.
The faces have realism but their expressionschildren In painting titled "Kinship," for exampleregister trepidation, wariness and hostility.
The look is not quite comic-book style, but close.
Beck's social gatherings are something else altogether. He's party spoiler, painting occasions that should be fun but aren't. His women carry bows and arrows like modern-day Dianas. In the painting titled "It's a Gift," men sing in an artist's studio, while outside the windows a city is burning.
There's a frightening surreal quality In some of Beck's work. In some of his pictures, figures seem to be coming out of the paintings to join the living.
"The Butchers Shop" depicts a gang with cleavers, but they aren't your friendly Kroger types. These men have a little bit too much blood around to have been just cutting up some pork chops