Megan Euker’s painting show in Linda Warren Gallery’s project space (read: office) contains large and ambitious scenes of bathers. Bathers have been a favorite subject of figurative painters since antiquity, with special emphasis from Impressionists and Post-Impressionists like Renoir, Seurat and Cézanne. Here Euker captures Italian beachcombers and bathhouse men engaged in lively relaxation. The paintings seem to focus their attention on the group behavior of their subjects, with the packs of sun-seekers titled “La Mola,” or sand diggers, roaming the beach, whereas the bathhouse residents seem much more introspective as each goes about their steam. Euker renders these subjects with a wide-ranging, slightly sun-bleached palette. The slathered paint builds up as each layer is added and adjusted creating a significant body of paint. While the tendency to anthropomorphize thick oil paint as flesh has become a bit of a cliché in recent painting, the physicality of Euker’s depictions makes up a majority of their appeal. Each passage struggles into being and confronts the next while still assembling into a tenderhearted scene. The subject of the work still seems secondary to how they are painted but Euker’s works are enjoyable enough to look at as paint, and as paintings. (Dan Gunn)
Through August 16 at Linda Warren Gallery, 1052 W. Fulton Market.