How does an artist decide what to make? Anything goes today: cooking, cleaning, shoe shining, even old-fashioned painting. But an artist must choose a medium and a subject, even if only to give it up and try something else another day. Kevin Flory paints with oil on canvas and watercolor on paper, and he mostly depicts nudes, sometimes a moody landscape. A rose temple, a maroon torso, a sunshine yellow backside and a slate blue armpit startle with their novel color; a persuasively tumultuous sky moves with its temperament. Flory’s traditional subjects come naturally to anyone who has spent time in museums looking at historic European painting, as Flory seems to have done, from Titian to Turner, but he might profitably turn his eyes to the present, where contemporary painters like Marlene Dumas, Jenny Saville and Elizabeth Peyton have found ways to keep the painted figure poignantly alive. Pictures aren’t painted for the dead.
—Lori Waxman 11/29/15 1:55 PM