Ligaya Mishan’s early-December essay on cancel culture is well worth reading (“The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture,” NYTimes, 12-3-20).
Initially, however, I was distracted from the essay itself by the paintings of Salman Toor which figure among the art works that illustrate it. I was attracted to Toor’s lush brushwork and use of pigment, as well as the arresting expressiveness, slightly cartoonish, of his figures. (Also, who has seen smart phones depicted in high art until now?)
Since then, Roberta Smith has given lavish treatment to the “evocative, tenderly executed paintings” of this Pakistan-born painter in “Salman Toor, A Painter at Home in Two Worlds” (NYTimes, 12-23-20). Mr. Toor (b. 1983) is based in New York City, and is the subject of a debut exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
I like Smith’s characterization of the show’s work as almost forming “an unusually sumptuous graphic novel.”
She ranks Toor among several “consummate stylists” whose paintings focus on gay life and love.
His delicate, caressing brush strokes and intriguing textures are somewhat too large for the images. So they remain staunchly visible and comforting, conveying crucial details and capturing the telling facial expressions at which the artist excels.
(c) 2020 JMN