Short List: Damian Loeb

"I can stop anytime," claims the crimson faux graffiti scrawled on the entrance wall. Don't believe it. Loeb goes all out for obsessive-compulsive effect. His latest ultra-neo-hyper-realist paintings on the other side of that wall are tightly controlled. But the way they insinuate sex and violence, addiction and obsession, prurience and portentiousness is downright scary. The desolate settings and symbolic details of his melodramatic scenarios are lethal. In this artist's hands the proverbial male gaze becomes a stalker's eye in which nubile females are exotic prey. Glistening on grainy linen, these nasty pictures are virtuosic and smarmy at the same time.

THROUGH FEBRUARY 12, Mary Boone Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, 752-2929 (Levin)