Once upon a time, an artist wanting to make a self-portrait would have put paint to canvas, tried for a good likeness, and called it a day. In his exhibition “The Ghosts,” Colin Doherty achieves a contemporary kind of portraiture via a pair of antique hobbyhorses, a thousand old tobacco sticks, a luminous geometric abstraction, a half dozen blown-up photographs, paintings of still lifes and people, and a music video. Why so many materials, so many mediums, so many other folks? That’s the self today: seen from multiple perspectives, through objects and possessions, ideas of place and time, actions and personality. Doherty isn’t just the straightforward image of Doherty, he is his kids, his lovers, their travels and objects. He is painting canvases, driving a pickup truck, searching the sky, gazing at his daughter. Is each individual artwork successful? No, of course not. Some try too hard, some not hard enough. That’s the mess of life, lived and represented.
—Lori Waxman 3/23/17 3:08 PM