Tom McGrath’s spooky wooded scenery

33137 (Blinds), 2010, oil on canvas over panel, 56 x 96″

Gun Club Song, 2010, oil on canvas over panel, 20×30″

Blue Ridge by Headlights, 2009, oil on canvas over panel, 22×30″

In Time Out New York Barbara Pollack reports that Tom McGrath is a voyeur of the landscape, turned on by his own surreptitious intrusion into settings both natural and man-made. “In his earlier work, McGrath cleverly depicted highways and accidents as if seen through a rain-streaked windshield. Now, he has turned his gaze to more pastoral settings�the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and tropical gardens in Miami Beach�while retaining the underlying tension that makes such innocent locales feel like murder scenes. The more haunting paintings in this exhibition are those of Appalachia, with images of the woods at night lit by headlights, whose reflections on black trees are conveyed with lush strokes of white paint on an indigo background…

“In other paintings, McGrath inserts window blinds between the landscape and the viewer, further drawing attention to the act of looking….The horizontal stripes become gimmicky, especially when coupled with merely decorative depictions of palm fronds. Such paintings would fit in nicely at a South Beach bar, but none carry the charge of his spooky wooded scenery.”

Tom McGrath: Blue Ridge By Headlights,” Sue Scott Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 30, 2010.

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