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LAYERING TO THE MAX <br> YEARS OF WORK CONTRIBUTE A COLOSAL ARRAY OF TEXTURES TO EUGENE LEROY'S OIL PAINTINGS

WHAT: Eugene Leroy paintings
WHEN: Through March 5
WHERE: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.

TICKETS: $4, $3 seniors/students, under 12 free
INFO: 882-8700

Out there in the art world, a whole host of people simply love the sexy, tactile quality of oil paint churned up and piled high on canvas in a slathering of empassioned strokes. It's part of the romance of painting, the very thing that draws some people to the art. The works of Eugene Leroy will test that love. Working on one small canvas for as long as a decade, the 90-year-old French painter builds up the paint in thick layer after thick layer until he has what looks as much like a colorful archaeological find as a painting. Like any conventional painter, Leroy will paint classic subjects -- still lifes, landscapes, interiors and the clothed or nude female figure -- but most of the evidence of these subjects will ultimately be buried under the gnarled and encrusted surfaces of the final painting. What is found is a colossal array of textures, somber colors and gouged and furrowed surfaces that seem to be a challenge in miniature to the dip, swell and ragged contour of the land itself. Some commentators have seen Leroy's art as a mini-history of art, with the painter incorporating within his dense clot of pigment every painterly painter from Rubens and Rembrandt to Monet and De Kooning. The exhibition, part of the New Room of Contemporary Art series at the gallery, is his first solo museum show in this country.

-- Richard Huntington

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