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New paintings of crowds zero in on the American public, emphasizing its divisions.
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Wayne Gonzales may have barrowed the image in it shows opening painting but he makes this already loaded picture work even harder. Like Warhol’s race riot paintings Gonzales selective recycling of a news photo captures powerfully a moment in American history it is a chilling reminder of the cause of war but also of the administrations attempt to control public opinion by banning such pictures.
Gonzales’s painting zero in on the American public emphasis against divisions. Giving Gonzales past politicized paintings of government officials and building it is tempting to try to find some kind of conspiracy or suspicious activity in these paintings. But looking for a story line leads nowhere no matter of repetition or mirroring yields any further results and Gonzales blurred painting style actually walks closer inspection.
We are given even less information about the crowds in the back gallery who could be gathered for anything from a war protest to a rock concert. This also originally came from New Orleans and this post Katrina confrontation between helpless citizens and helpless authorities is the only painting in which he reveals his subject matter. What really turns the mood of these paintings commonest is the shifting scale of the figures with their long hunting shadows against the back drop of an acid yellow sky?
The creepy loaner who crops at repeatedly in several paintings adds to our own ease. That sense of nagging and certainty ties the show together casting suspicions on orderly sanctioned events and making the more anarchy gathering or the more tense. In a politicized context two kinds of crowds might be generalized as supporters or the centers but a closer look at either group reveals little unity instead suggesting a pro-evasive sense of ambiguity in communicating the anxious mood of the times.