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Art on Paper - Sept/Oct 2005

New York
James Meyer: "Ironic Pentameter" at Sandra Gering Gallery

In a recent exhibition featuring five large watercolors from 2005, James Meyer combined his surreal exploration of lighthearted childhood fantasy and iconography with more adult subjects, such as everyday life in the Third World. The works, each of which avoids narrative cohesion, are enchanting and thought provoking.

In The Road Not Taken, for example, one scene portrays a young boy playing on a beach; another a group of men hurrying through an urban setting. Compositionally separated (the boy is in the center of the picture, whereas the men inhabit its upper edge) the psychological and physical gap dividing the child from the grown-ups is clear: the boy is free and enveloped by the vastness of nature, but the adults - possibly foreshadowing the youngster's future - are encaged by the world around them. Notes from Underground depicts two kneeling girls wearing Indian saris. Though their heads are tipped back expectantly at the sky, their eyes are voids, reflecting the emptiness that lies ahead. They are juxtaposed with an image of another girl jumping in space and an outline of a figure holding a tray, perhaps asking for food - a moment that translates as a metaphor of life's unexpected turns and limitations.

Meyer's work calls for increasing multi-cultural awareness. In a time when world-wide terrorism serves as a daily reminder that only cultural tolerance and education can help build a global dialogue, he points at today's children as the hope for future generations.

- Stephanie Buhmann

sample image
James Meyer, Not Untitled, watercolor on paper (40 x 60 in.), 2005.
Courtesy the artist and Sandra Gering Gallery.

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