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Michael Gentile

July 10th ~ August 7th 2005

Opening Sunday, July 10th from 2 - 6 pm.

Gentile Girls

Recent paintings on paper

This group of portraits is named not for a quality they possess, nor for the religious beliefs of the subjects, but for their Frankenstein, the madman who created them, artist Michael Gentile. For several decades, Gentile has been focusing his gaze on female friends and lovers. The results, these Gentile Girls, stare right back at us now, frozen in time, adoringly captured at 36, 23, 42 (their respective ages, not their measurements) in bright floral-toned watercolors. Their brash attitudes match the artist's palette. The Gentile Girls are much more than mere objects of desire; each one possesses her own unique personality, her own particular strengths and weaknesses. But all the girls revel in their sexuality, teasing the viewer coyly. Did she? Didn't she? Might she? Would she, if I were holding the brush?

In this sense, Gentile's work is reminiscent of female portraits by radical early 20th-century painters, such as Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele and German Surrealist Christian Schad. Stylistically, the paintings, with their flat surfaces and bold hyper-saturated colors resemble those of Alex Katz--if Katz had hung around downtown chicks instead of Upper East Side matrons.

Michael Gentile considers himself a "perv," though I'm not sure his models would agree. Their identities shine through his blur of Catholic guilt. While some of the girls seem like they might have bounced on Uncle Michael's knee, they share the all-knowing looks of Balthus' babes. Gentile's youngest, most innocent subjects are starry-eyed and disturbingly precious, much like the early '80s "children paintings" by Jiri Georg Dokoupil, or generation Y's hottest selling doll, My Pretty Pony. The more womanly girls have the rich decadent, sometimes lightly whipped, cheesecake texture of a Mel Ramos or Francis Picabia pin-up.

During my last studio visit, I asked Michael if any of his girls were non-Gentile, i.e. Jewish. "No, but only by chance" was his response. The true belief that Gentile's subjects have in common is a primary interest in self, which makes these the perfect portraits for our current era of narcissism.

Lauri Bortz, 2005

Please join us for the Gentile Girls opening reception Sunday July 10th, 2-6PM, at Abaton Garage. Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon/evening. Emerald Tablets, Jersey City's best known (and just plain best) audio-alchemists, will perform a set at 5:30.

Directions to Abaton Garage.


From NYC take the Newark-bound PATH train to Journal Square. Taxis are available on Kennedy Boulevard, directly in front of the station. The ride to Abaton Garage takes less than five minutes and costs approximately $5. If you prefer to walk, simply stroll down Kennedy Boulevard about 3/4 of a mile, until you reach Gifford Avenue. Then turn right; 100 is in the middle of the block.

Previous exhibitions 2004:

Mark Dagley, June ~ July 2004

Tom Warren, August ~ September 2004

Alix Lambert, September ~ October 2004

Bill Schwarz, October ~ December 2004

Previous exhibitions 2005:

Steven Parrino, April ~ May 2005

Cora Cohen, May ~ June 2005

Paula Gillen, June ~ July 2005


| Lauri Bortz | Roberto Cabot | Cora Cohen | Mark Dagley |

| Judith Fleishman | Paul Garcia | Michael Gentile | Paula Gillen |

| Pat Gubler | Sibyll Kalff | Alix Lambert | Roger Miller |

| Bill Schwarz | Tom Warren | Amy Wilson |

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