Damian Loeb at White Cube

London-No artist since Andy Warhol has portrayed the suffocating airlessness of American popular culture with such accuracy as New York artist Damian Loeb. Using a slick, highly graphic style, he fuses images from print and film into narrative paintings that are as glossy and emotionally distant as the violence found on the 11 o'clock news. Combining the precise Photo-Realism of Richard Estes with the mute angst of Edward Hopper, Loeb creates a sense of helplessness that is mesmerizing. Controversial both for his appropriation technique-Loeb's compositions are borrowed, in part, from works by other contemporary artists like Jeff Wall, as well as for what critics have called his "soullessness," Loeb's paintings have nevertheless attracted major interest. Initially represented in New York by Jeffrey Deitch before moving over to Mary Boone last year, the 29-year-old painter is teaming up with dealer Jay Jopling of London's contemporary White Cube gallery (44 Duke Street) to show his work in the U.K. From October 29 through November 20, Jopling is presenting four new works by Loeb, with prices ranging from £10,000 to £15,000 ($15,000-­$25,000). Unlike his previous, more surreal works, Loeb's latest paintings, such as Notice (School Is Closed) tell a series of strange yet plausible stories involving an Asian woman drifting through a Southern town. "I want people to interpret [these paintings] in their own way," he says. But Loeb's works seem to resist such interpretation-they are already tangled up in our collective unconsciousness. Indeed, if America could sleep, its dreams would surely look like this.

— Steven Vincent

Notice School is Closed



–Vincent, Steven
November 15, 1999