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gallery 1: ELLIOTT GREEN new paintings Elliott Green has returned to Postmasters with a series of larger paintings that bring his strangely original figures forward in a sober maturity. Through the use of an eccentric blend of colors and a distinct, highly animated line, Green's characters interact with controlled calm while visual hints of imminent eruption loom nearby. The artist's freestyle approach - dark, graphite lines swiftly and adeptly defining distortions of facial features, arms and legs - continues in this series. As Barbara A. MacAdam of Art News described in reviewing Green's solo exhibition last year, "His personal iconography offers a weird and effective vehicle for expressing complex emotional states and relationships, both formal and figurative, and the unidentifiability of the cartoon characters prevents sentiment from becoming mawkish." In the current show, the increased canvas size has enlarged Green's characters to human scale of up to six-and-a-half feet in height. The already apparent exaggeration of body parts is taken to the extreme, such as the monstrous foot of a man with a chiseled, movie-star physique in "Tree Grips Tight to Fruit." The artistic license Green takes with anatomy is so severe, it is remarkable that the human figure is recognizable. The warping highlights the characters' idosyncratic weaknesses and strengths, and unveils the otherwise hidden emotional mechanics of relationships. While distortion and the strong flow of line define the figures' activities, the scenes are painted in an anachronistic palette of nostalgic post-war hues and contemporary brilliant tones, color-coding the potential volatility of different areas of the stage. In "Hold on Tight," a central figure in murky marine blue clasps hands in seeming prayer, sandwiched by characters bathed half in serene blues, half in blood-reds. The bookend figures, a girl who mimics the pious gesture and a disruptive man, simultaneously lend peacefulness and tension to the scene through the isolation of color. In his new paintings, Green captures the presence of time as it works toward a climax unforseen by the characters involved. Tiny details surrounding the central images hint at what is to come: In "Gentle Mouth," lips softly suck on a finger, while off to the side, something is growingSperhaps the beginnings of a fetus, perhaps a tumor, but certainly it is a potentially unsettling harbinger of change. The tranquil sensuality of the main action remains intact for now, while in the background the growth has set transformation slowly in motion. "Even as they tap into elemental desires and anxieties, Mr. Green's easel sized canvases remain works of great formal elegance," wrote Ken Johnson in The New York Times, in a review of the 2000 show. Green's latest paintings retain that strongly animated presence, but the energy is tempered, disciplined, held in reserve. His protagonist is now one abstracted beyond the visual reality of the figure: it is an offstage character, time, who creates the present and prepares the future.