Paul Pretzer returns to portraiture with his signature dark humor in new exhibition at MARC STRAUS

MARC STRAUS opened Paul Pretzer’s fourth solo exhibition of new paintings. Pretzer returns to portraiture with his signature dark humor. Pretzer frequently references famous Renaissance paintings and we are encouraged to make the associations amid his oddities and allusions to contemporary popular culture. For example, Pretzer’s depiction of hands, as in the gesticulations of Blender (2018) or the fondling touch of the tattooed Hasenmann (2018)—evoke Zurbaran and Da Vinci, yet these are pure inventions and wonderfully contemporary. Pretzer’s use of symbolism largely invokes the surrealists but his quixotic choices of characters and narrative is very much his own. He loves to play with historical genres. Portrait (2018), composed in the classical manner, cropped at mid-torso, is a strange yet captivating figure straight out of Blaxploitation culture-her Afro hair could easily replace the halos from 15th century

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