Steven

‚ÄúSteven,‚ÄĚ 2000, Oil on canvas, 80" x 60", by David Tomb

One of the Bay Area‚Äôs best painters, David Tomb defiantly traffics in an old-fangled and unhip genre: portraiture. ‚ÄúDavid Tomb: Diorama‚ÄĚ at the Hackett-Freedman Gallery brings together four sensual, life-sized portraits of people near and dear to him. As these unfold into intimate psychological studies, Tomb emerges as a painter‚Äôs painter ‚ÄĒ that is, one who revels in the pleasures of paint itself. Masterfully blending abstract and representational elements, his rich surfaces are slathered with frostinglike furrows while the subjects‚Äô meaty faces and flesh rise from voluptuous color shards that reflect the influences of Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon. Susan depicts a bird‚Äôs-eye view of the artist‚Äôs raven-haired wife, wearily clutching a champagne glass, against a buttery yellow backdrop. The thin-skeined Steven, an unusually impasto-leeched full-length portrait of performance artist Steven Raspa, is awash in eye-popping electric acid reds and blues. It jumps off the wall ‚Äėatcha like a psychedelic Day-Glo dandy (replete with peacock and bubble-blower).