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Distilling the Subtle Potential Of a Moment in Time

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THE paintings of Beth Weissman have the exact and perfectly worked verisimilitude we tend to associate with photorealism. Though Weissman does in fact work from photographs taken of a subject, to label her work strict photorealism is a misnomer and would not do adequate justice to the emotional and creative scope of the work.

Camera in hand, equipped with the eye of the painter and the heart of the poet, Weissman canvases the world around her. Whether by its striking formal features - the light and dark patterning that carries our eye into the lonely life of the female diner in "L.A. or by its strange emotional valence - the tired anticipation in the eyes of the old potbellied man in "Pillars a scene will grab Weissman's imagination. She then takes several always clandestine photos of her subject ("If I am seen and the subjec t's ego is engaged, I nearly always discard the photo and scratch the idea; I'm after only the spontaneous emotional instant," says Weissman). The resulting painting has as its impetus the moment that Weissman froze in time with her lens, but it has at its core the creative and symbolic selections that Weissman makes along the way ... the things she leaves out, the things she adds or exaggerates, every nuance she selectively and skillfully weaves into these handsomely executed paintings such that the utterl y common becomes filled with open-ended portent.

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