Arts Desk

Reviewed: Adam Lister at the Heurich Gallery

Adam Lister, a painter, sculptor, installation artist and gallerist from Fairfax, Va., has produced some inspired work, particularly a series in which he riffs on immediately recognizable paintings by Da Vinci, Vermeer, Munch, Magritte, Seurat and other giants by painting them as if they had been sucked into a Wreck-It Ralph pixilated vortex. (Really; they’re worth a look.)

However, Lister’s exhibition of recent works at the Heurich Gallery—acrylic paintings inspired by “systems and transportation networks” as well as the geometry of everyday life—falls short of those heights. Lister’s warped reproductions of famous works succeed because there’s undeniable fun for the viewer in comparing the copy and the original. That’s not possible with the rubbery-surfaced pure abstractions in his current show.

Indeed, much of the time, the paintings don’t even match the feel suggested by their titles: The muted pastels of “Boardwalk” conjure South Beach more than the quintessential (and more garish) boardwalk locales of Coney Island or Atlantic City, while “Long Flight” exudes a placidity totally at odds with the modern flying experience (unless you happen to associate the painting’s shades of blue with the fin colors of United Airlines planes).

Lister is technically accomplished; the borders of his brushstrokes are impressively taut, especially on such large canvases as the 36-by-80-inch “Quiet Hazard,” and some paintings conjure up a '60s op-art feel that has recently come back into a sort-of vogue due to Mad Men. Still, if you want a feel for art inspired by transportation systems, check out the original, which remains fresh to this day—Piet Mondrian’s 1940s evocation of Manhattan’s pulsating grid, “Broadway Boogie Woogie.”

Through Sept. 4 at the Heurich Gallery, 505 9th St. NW. On view Mondays to Fridays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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