By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 16, 2002; Page WE37
"By Michael O'Sullivan, reprinted with permission from the Washington Post"
Fraser Gallery's new outpost, a spinoff of the Georgetown gallery that opened earlier this year in downtown Bethesda, is devoted to a roundup of what director Catriona Fraser calls the gallery's trademark "edgy realism." True to her gallery's reputation for figurative painting (with a smattering of sculpture thrown in), the current "Summer Group Show" features a well-balanced mix of nudes and clothed figures, with a dash of landscapes and still lifes of produce for good measure.
The work's unfailing technical proficiency is always a hallmark of Fraser's shows, while the edginess acts as a tonic to what can start to feel like monotonous iterations of the human body's variety if not tempered with a jaundiced eye. Paintings by such artists as Rachel Waldron, who brings a cynical twist to her allegorical depictions of Rubenesque women, and Tristan Shane, whose Robert Williams-style surrealism draws from comix culture as well as from the art history canon, make for a varied and stimulating mix.
As with a couple of the other exhibitions mentioned, the hanging of the works at Fraser is, to my taste, a tad congested -- if to a lesser degree than the flea-market style of the worst offenders. In putting together a group show, it is helpful to remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
SUMMER GROUP SHOW -- Through Sept. 10 at Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda (Metro: Bethesda). 301/718-9651. www.thefrasergallery.com. Open 11:30 to 6 Tuesdays through Saturdays. Free.
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