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TO MARCH 15
Roberto Azank is a painter of extremes: extreme colors, extreme details, extreme horizon lines, and extreme lacquers. An Argentinian now living in New York, Azank creates still lifes (Still Life #178 With Blue Iris is pictured) with a style that seems to vary little from painting to painting, usually consisting of flowers resting within single, erect vases. His work melds together the deadpan compositions of Magritte with the painstaking detail and reflective shellacks of Vermeer and the stylized, almost airbrushed look of Tom Wesselmann. At their most frustrating, Azank’s paintings offer both detail-rich floral depictions and stark, smooth geometrical backgroundsa combination that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t quite come off: The eye, already bowled over by Azank’s bright colors, has a tough time sorting out what’s in near and far focus. The painter’s departures from his main style are often more compelling. The tightly closed tulip in Still Life #166 With Yellow Tulip has a simple, sinuous shape that seems to fit the painter’s compositions better; so does Still Life #170 With Tulip and Water Lily, which places the water lily in a shallow bowl, its horizontality nicely echoing that of the painting itself. But Azank is at his best when he’s working with fruit: Still Life #180 With Pears presents a traditional rendering of a pear with lusciously realistic colors. And the show’s finest piece may be Still Life #174 With Lemonso appealing in its simplicity that it could easily pass for the flag of a small, orchard-filled nation. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, March 15 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Free. (202) 338-5180. (Louis Jacobson)