Megan Abrahams reviews the recent F. Scott Hess Retrospective at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery/Barnsdall, Los Angeles.
Abrahams writes: "The de facto point of figurative painting, from the primitives to the present, has been the documentation of human life and history. Yet questions of who, what, when and where frequently only yield superficial information. The most compelling question — why — is at the center of Hess’s inquiry. In his visionary paintings, Hess employs his singularly brilliant technical eloquence, driven by subject matter that often borders on shocking. Rape, riots and revolution are among many themes Hess is driven to explore in his work. The Los Angeles artist acknowledges that some of the paintings may be difficult to hang over the couch. 'A lot of the emotion in my life goes into my work. A lot of those emotions aren’t positive. It has to do with being a human in society. I never shy away from anything.'"