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Excerpt

CAC show mystifies, fascinates
by Jerry Stein

New Yorker Beck sets his characters in mundane situations—a summer picnic, a gathering in an artist’s studio, a party—but the mood is ominous.

His colors can be vivid—a straw-yellow blonde, glowing baby-blue crescents on a woman's dress.

The faces have realism but their expressions—children In painting titled "Kinship," for example—register 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