Review: Travis S. Little at Stutz Art Space 

click to enlarge 'Sarah's Reflection' by Travis S. Little
  • 'Sarah's Reflection' by Travis S. Little

4.5 stars

StutzArtSpace; Travis S. Little; through Aug 26.

Stutz resident artist Travis Little is primarily self-taught, a fact that makes his mixed media portraiture all the more remarkable. His technical skill is such that you might, from a distance, mistake his (mostly) nude and semi-nude portraits for photographs.

Certainly this is the case for "Art Book," where you see a young woman reclined on a bed, browsing through a book of art, naked save for the white shirt that she's wearing. But if you look closely, you can see individual brushstrokes in the background.This portrait, based on a live model, is as beautiful work of art as any that could possibly be in that particular book.

In other paintings, Little departs even further from strict realism. In "Sarah's Reflection," you see a seated woman undressing in front of the mirror that she's looking into. As your eye follows down from her thigh to her feet, her leg seems to dissolve into abstraction.

And in the work entitled "Barry," the nude male figure's face seems so obscured by shadow that there's an almost surreal quality to it. It's made more striking by the dark green background.

You could say that Little's work fits the definition of Contemporary American Realism—it's a label the artist himself uses — but in order to appreciate such art fully, you might just want to abandon all preconceptions.


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