Laura Shechter at Forum Gallery, New York City (1980s)



 More than most people realize, still-life as a genre, in the selection and arrangement of objects and the way they are painted, is as much a symbolic manifestation and revelation of the inner life of an artist or an age as any overtly allegorical work.


 Laura Shechter exhibits meticulously painted, very small-scale still-lifes (the largest 18 x 16 inches) comprised essentially of g1assware: jars, pitchers, bottles, jugs, cups. Even cloth and wood seem glassy or metallic. Her color varies from delicately harmonious to harshly brittle.


 The assembling (and containing) of these objects on table tops, shelves, cupboards or within framed mirror reflections form literal family groups (Cezanne and Morandi did similar things in much looser, more open styles) which seem to cluster together in a defensive mode of pristine purity and isolation from the world.  In "Self-Portrait with Green Cloth," the artist portrays herself as a tiny withdrawn figure dwarfed and nearly shunted out of the picture space by large and assertive foreground pitchers.


 Shechter's drawings, though still very tiny, tight and precise, seem warmer, perhaps due to the subtle natural graininess of pencil and the delicacy of silver point.


Copyright by Don Gray


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