I spent the day yesterday at the Armory Show in New York, which assembles the offerings of over a hundred galleries from around the world. The show will be up at 55th and 12th through March 7. The works, set up in white painted cubicles, include modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and video.
Barry Friedman, Ltd. of New York was one of two galleries presenting the work of Gottfried Helnwein (Austrian, b. 1948), who paints gigantic portraits of wan children. The skin and hair invited scrutiny for their soft, downy surface, painted with a sense of photographic realism, but painterly energy at a small scale.
The Forum Gallery showed new works by Robert Bauer (American, born 1942) another portrait artist whose works are on a much smaller scale, but equally compelling. He has been creating lighter images in egg tempera, more resembling drawings. He can create them faster than his oils, which he was producing at four per year. They're made from a combination of photographs and live sittings.
Both artists seem to have made a point of having the subject avoid eye contact with the viewer, which changes the chemistry of a close encounter with a realistically painted face.
There was much else, perhaps something for every taste. A single ticket gets you into all the satellite venues, including the Volta (across from the Empire State Building).
You can save the $30 entrance fee by following this link and signing up for complimentary passes. Use the code "TASGALLERY" in the promotional code. (Thanks, James)