The title of Austin Lee’s current exhibition at Postmasters is the first sign that things might get a bit overloaded and over-the-top (it’s the word OK, repeated 45 times, a manic act of self-reassurance). This young figurative painter is obsessed with the human (and not so human) face, and of the wild varieties that can still be attained through your basic two eyes, nose, and a mouth. Dozens of these tiny portraits are hung, salon-style and occasionally a bit skewed, creating a crowd or mob of alternately pleased, angry, sad, stoned, starry-eyed, or bespectacled countenances.
Nearby hangs one of several much larger canvases: Taboo, 2013, a painting of a grinning yellow cat smoking a cigarette. (At first I thought this nicotine-craving pussy was smoking two cigarettes at once, but now it seems like what he holds in his versatile paw is actually a match). Like many of Lee’s paintings, it combines gauzy, blurry effects with sharper lines laid overtop, as if the artist tweaked his compositions using Photoshop filters and more rudimentary software, like MS Paint.
You’ve got until March 8 to catch “ok ok ok ok ok….” Also worth seeing: Guy Ben Ner’s Soundtrack, a madcap video that turns the domestic sphere into a scene of terrifying and comic intensity. (By that I mean it’s funny, and weird, and mainly set in the artist’s kitchen).