Scott Foldesi at James Harris Gallery

Scott Foldesi uses visual shorthand to reimagine suburban landscapes: an unpopulated gas station, a vacant motel, and the endless aisles of a big-box store become near-iconic in his paintings. In an exhibit at James Harris entitled “American Dream,” the Seattle-based artist employs a simplicity of composition and exaggerated color, offering both an homage to the cultural landscape and a critical look at it. These familiar spaces are both revered and despised, but Foldesi’s spare picture planes offer a pared-down beauty as well. The uninhabited motel pool is gorgeous and sad both, while his fuel station reads like an exercise in consumer design. In oil on canvas, Gas Station (2008, above) is rendered in a flat, almost Pop style, employing a minimal palette. Clear turquoise colors the building, while yellow horizontals stripe the storefront. The sky seems to erupt in a halo of grey clouds, while the fuel pumps in the foreground—as well as the rest of the very open, empty image—are monochrome. Perhaps this gas station is an ideal, a desperate stop on a lonely road trip, stumbled across when the fuel indicator is on empty. It’s a church of gasoline. This might be a bit of early nostalgia, perhaps a nod to consumer culture on its way out. Free.

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 8. Continues through Feb. 14, 2009