John Lees: Exhuming the Numinous

John Lees, Mater 1979-2012, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches (courtesy of the Betty
John Lees, Mater 1979-2012, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches (courtesy of the Betty Cuningham Gallery)

Thaddeus Radell reviews an exhibition of paintings by John Lees at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, on view through June 22, 2013.

Radell writes that in Lees' paintings, "the broad orchestration of intoxicatingly layered texture, ineffable nuances of color and spectral imagery combines to create an overwhelming presence of physical Beauty. Such Beauty, so impeccably and consistently constructed, its cultivation so apparent, soon becomes, in fact, disturbing. The undeviating articulation of high aesthetics becomes suspect, the surfaces redundant, even complacent. Yet, to Lees’ credit, once the initial visually stunning impact of the Beautiful has receded into this rather dogged ritual of exquisite, painterly palimpsest, and then allowed a second, more sustained viewing, the truly electrifying and poignant aspect of this exhibition emerges."