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Focal point: A critic's view "Man and Woman" shows Bruce Adams' photo-realist approach .

BRUCE ADAMS' paintings are based on the artist's own photographs of people looking at paintings. Adams uses the photos as a basis for a photo-realist treatment of his subjects. As we see in "MAN AND WOMAN WITH PAINTING," the artist isolates the painting and the viewers by eliminating all surrounding details. In this example, a man converses with a woman while gesturing at a large painting. The painting, shown at an extreme angle, appears as a sliver of a shape that faithfully follows the camera's image.

As realism, it is a convincing rendition of a standard scene that one could see repeated over and over at an art opening reception. But at the same time, Adams so tightly controls his composition that the contrast between the dark shapes and the glaring white of the surrounding areas becomes as important a part of the painting's impact as the subject matter itself. While he offers an engaging scene, the artist also makes a compelling case for the limits of photography and the communicative power of painting.

- Mark Lavatelli

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