Review: Philip Hardy's show at the tribes

Two very young painters have a show together at a gathering of thetribes. Both took their MFA's in 2009 from the New York Academy of Art in TriBeCa, where the emphasis is on training students to paint, draw & sculpt figuratively, just like the Old Masters (and like the Royal Academy & French Salon painters of the 19th century, and the academic branch of surrealism in France in the 1930s). Both these young painters appear to have learned their lessons, as can be seen in "Philip J. Hardy/Michael Gibson: Language Paintings" (through January 29). Gibson is still struggling to find himself, although some of his pictures display sound academic technique, among them "Enter the Red Shirt" and "They're Year Five Thousand." Hardy has not only mastered academic technique, but is beginning to have ideas about how to employ it, utilizing a blond palette & fanciful themes that resemble an ultra-contemporary version of say, Rene Magritte. In only one instance (among the nine paintings on view) would I say that Hardy's technique is inadequate to convey his ideas, but many of his images are haunting, including "Transcendent Cars," in which small automobile float amid clouds, "Flying Pig," a porker with wings, and "Pigggy," which shows another pig, this one under a bridge, with a wheelbarrow & foliage. Most impressive is "Toad Lover," a symphony in greys and browns. It depicts a monstrously large greige toad in a greige landscape with a smaller greige toad on his shoulders, while strapped to the head of the smaller toad is a little house with light shining out of its windows.