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Monday, October 19, 2020

In Brief: D. Jack Solomon at LGAP

D. Jack Solomon - Call on Me, acrylic on canvas 38x50 inches

A favorite artist and a favorite venue have teamed up to produce something special this fall. Sixteen paintings by D. Jack Solomon currently fill the Lake George Arts Projects's Courthouse Gallery in Lake George Village, and the result is nothing short of a knockout.

Solomon, who recently moved to Hudson from Surprise, is in the twilight of a quietly impressive career that seems to have gained steam over time. I first became aware of his work in 2004, when he showed at Albany Center Gallery, and I became a fan immediately.

Skedaddle 24x18 inches
The Lake George exhibition is something of a late-period retrospective, featuring works that date from 2007 through 2016 and, while there are standout pieces among them, the overall strength of this selection is particularly consistent.

Solomon's painting style leans heavily on elaborate design elements, often delineated in black, and he supports these elements with beautiful passages of smoothly applied color. He works in acrylic, with the masterful control of the medium you'd expect from a lifelong painter - but one shouldn't take this achievement for granted, even if he makes it look easy. Indeed, Solomon is the real deal.

What exactly do I mean by that? To be an artist worthy of attention, one must accomplish certain things. Though our current era seems to have abandoned ideas of traditional technique (and there's nothing wrong with progressing to new standards that break old rules), I would argue that it's still crucial that any work of art show significant control of its medium (whatever medium that may be). Otherwise, we're just mucking about. Clearly, Solomon passes that test with - sorry - flying colors.

Long Gone 24x18 inches
It's also necessary for an artist to find something new to say, or a new way to say something; and to say it in a voice that's recognizable. That's sometimes referred to as having a personal style, but I prefer to call it voice or vision. Again, Solomon checks the box. You know a Solomon when you see it and, in a show like this one, you get to immerse yourself in the vast sea of the unique visual vocabulary he's developed and perfected.

Finally, an artist has to reach you. Maybe this is an element of taste, or timing, but I think it's also a matter of heart. Is it too late in the human experiment to value sincerity? If not, then Solomon gains by being steadfast. But - unlike me - he also maintains a wonderful sense of humor. This playfulness is perhaps the final puzzle piece that makes his work so enjoyable, so intriguing, and so lasting.

Paintings by D. Jack Solomon will remain on view at the Courthouse Gallery through October 30.

Installation view of D. Jack Solomon paintings at Courthouse Gallery