Joseph Park

This Seattle-based artist has the good fortune to have two exhibits on display in town: "Moon Beam Caress" at the Frye and a small solo show at Howard House. Park is, without a doubt, an accomplished painter, yet his images are often hard to categorize. There are myriad influences on display here, from Japanese anime to the dramatic lighting of film noir. The Frye show is filled with interpretations of classics: Cartoon characters pose in odalisques by Ingres, and obscure rococo paintings by Bourgereau and Fragonard are reimagined in Park's vibrant palette. Childlike animals abound, but they're staged in settings of loneliness, as in Still (above), which looks like a Disney movie hijacked by Raymond Chandler. Parks' show at Howard House is more spare—and the experiments in light even more dramatic and virtuosic. Light angles down city streets, pools in reflections, is caught in a burst of lens flare, or spotlights some token of memory. In one painting, an abandoned Go Kart sits in a basement. Like many of Park's images, it feels sentimental, expressing a sweet longing for a simpler time. Yet much of his work is also suffused with alienation—and the realization that even cartoon characters suffer from ennui. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., 206- 622-9250. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; noon- 5 p.m. Sun.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thurs. Howard House, 604 Second Ave., 206-256-6399. 10:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tues.-Sat.

 
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