10/19/11 5:44 PM
Best to imagine Duncan Hopkins’s nonrepresentational paintings by first reading their titles. “This Town Is Being Dismantled” insists one, “Bite Me” cries another. Up close, these oils lie with an alarming thinness on their grounds, revealing nothing underneath but the nubs of common canvas. By contrast, a spellbinding watercolor conjures a ghostly stag and fox leaping from the skin of a prone man, proving that otherworldly events depend on the real for effect. Here, concrete detail accumulates mystery beyond the facts of ink on paper while there, painterly washes amount to little more than medium on canvas. If only these paintings could truly do as their titles promise. “I Sense You in There, In the Floor of the Forest” whispers one, but it doesn’t.