Chuck Webster: Little Big Paintings While their scale shifts radically from the very-small to the mega-size, the paintings in this exhibit by New York-based painter Chuck Webster share a graphic vocabulary that could be described as ancient cave paintings of alien runes. Each work is dominated by thick, brushy outlines — often in black but in various other single bold hues — of pile-like shapes, with branching linear folds and creases that terminate in jagged crooks and X-marks. At once veinlike, primitive, organic and architectural, these forms are filled in with fields of vivid colors that play on high contrast. Layers of underpainting are discernible, their scraped and otherwise roughed-up surfaces lending a faux-aged patina to certain works and reminding the viewer that these seemingly childlike forms are not products of slapdash whimsy. For all their simplicity, these pieces are arduously labored-over. Their surfaces tell a strange story of aggravated craft and giddy impulse. Also showing – Brandon Anschultz: Press Pause St. Louis-based painter Anschultz complements Webster's work with his own blend of savage abandon and slick meticulousness, exhibiting a series of new medium-scale paintings on canvas and panel; a large, loose grid of small paintings on wood and canvas; and an intricate assemblage of small sculptural works on a modified pedestal. It's a lush show of texture, topography, form and color that relishes unexpected juxtapositions and the many virtuosic pleasures of paint. Through December 21 at Philip Slein Gallery, 4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-2617 or www.philipsleingallery.com. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. and by appointment.
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