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Fusion Art

Francesca Fuchs paints striking portraits, drawing upon photos of her subjects

Katrina (2002) is one of the least effective works in the exhibition, although even at that it is still a good painting. But what it does is serve to highlight what reallyworks in Fuchs's other compositions. In it, Katrina Moorhead is shown crouching on the horizontal stripes of a wooden floor holding a child's toy in her hands, looking up at the camera. She is located in a room with the highly stylized details of a lamp and miniblinded windows backed with trees. It is a well-composed image, but the full figure and simplified but still illusionary space lack the punch that is delivered in works like Bill Lassiter (2002).

In this incredibly striking work, the orange-shirted figure is cut off at the waist and starkly placed against a dynamic flat pattern. Part of a lime-green window and a brown frame oddly crop the oh-so-flat space. A beige light switch succinctly anchors the left side of the wall. The pattern strategy isn't infallible, however. At the other end of the spectrum, Brad (2002) is on the cusp of being overwhelmed by the strong green, white and yellow horizontal bands behind him. The color seems just a shade off from being subdued enough.

Few of the paintings' subjects are going to come away saying, "Boy, I look really freakin' good" -- these aren't Andy Warhol vanity silk screens -- but the paintings sure look great. Fuchs has created some wonderful stuff. Her seamless execution is tempered by the humanity of slightly off, awkward figures combined with visually engaging patterns, all packaged into her well-crafted compositions. There is something for everyone, not through pandering mishmash, but through Fuchs's smart, skillful selections.

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