The adolescent boy seated at the center of a tall painting by Greg Kuppinger stares back at the viewer with a look somewhere between innocence and knowingness. Detailed in oil with great care and realism, the folds of his white T-shirt crumple crisply, the curls of his golden brown hair tumble softly, the fringes of his long peach scarf twist silkily. Despite the veracity of his upper body, though, the boy’s lower half won’t stay intact: his legs, encased in jeans, dissolve until finally, all that’s left is an ocher painter’s outline in place of his toes. Perhaps he’s wiser than his years, this kid, and he knows what Marx once wrote to be true: all that is solid melts into air. We haven’t always been here and we won’t stay forever. It’s a hard truth, and one that Kuppinger’s medium bespeaks viscerally. He paints like an Old Master, or at least like Balthus, but he paints on sandpaper. The visual effect is a learned scumbling, the tactile one painful.
—Lori Waxman 11/11/16 12:54 PM