The rip-off artist

Rosalyn Bodycomb's paintings dance on the fine line between theft and originality

But what's most telling is that the best of Bodycomb's three showcased works is the large monoprint that departs from Baconland. One glance at the ruddy, narrative-bound "Amy, Albert & Adolph," and you want more of that, not her Bacon cops. So Bodycomb has come up with a truly original aesthetic. She just isn't using it enough, and we can grow a bit more critical as we wonder why.

In this piece, three people perch on two modular red couches, an expanse of brown coffee table and brown wall extending before and behind them. The one woman and pair of men sit in uncomfortable yet affable silence, dimly aware of the viewer's gaze and yet more concerned with what's happening among them in their own world. Aging relatives in a garish hotel lobby waiting for a taxi to take them to separate freedoms? In-laws making the best of a wait in a hospital sitting area? Good friends enduring the silence in between conversation jags about architecture and the weather?

The immediacy and sincerity in their postures are so deftly captured in Bodycomb's gestural shapes, you can make of it what you need to, which is most likely whatever memory it triggers in your own mind. Precision meets the universal -- this is the kind of art we all hope to see when we enter a gallery. It speaks as much about the artist's thoughtful and unique translation of life as it does about larger abstract truths. And this is exactly what makes artwork not just "good," but "great."

Triple threat: "Amy, Albert, & Adolph" is Bodycomb's most striking -- and original -- work.
Triple threat: "Amy, Albert, & Adolph" is Bodycomb's most striking -- and original -- work.
Personal best: "Sculpture Shed"
Personal best: "Sculpture Shed"


Through January 10

Artists' reception:
January 8

(214) 220-2024

Mulcahy Modern Gallery,
2613 Thomas Avenue,

And that's the point. Bodycomb can rehash Bacon aesthetics all she wants to "good" affect, and we can carve out finer points about her subject matter being slightly different, her slightly tweaked color scheme, how she tones down the streaks in favor of mood -- yes, that makes her different from any other painter, including Bacon. But after all, terms such as "greatness" and "genius" have rarely been attributed to any artist who can't get a viewer past copycat accusations. And if any artist can show the potential for originality that Bodycomb has in her piece "Amy, Albert, & Adolph," then it seems a shame to add her to the burgeoning lump of pop-culture retreads. And more of a shame that she would continue to make work that puts her there.

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