Dusty Boynton (2008)

Dusty Boynton in January 2009 ArtNews

Dusty Boynton

Denise Bibro Fine Art

“Dusty Boynton’s art isn’t as easy and casual as it appears. Her characters — human, animal and hybrid — are childlike and scrawled, often staring straight out from the picture surface. To invest these figures, as Boynton does, with individual personalities and emotional weight, as well as with the ability to relate psychologically to one another, is a real artistic feat. This is why the influences and associations in her work are of the highest order. There’s a hint of a de Kooning woman’s leer in one painting, the suggestion of a Dubuffet scribbled mouth in another, and evocations of Ken Kiff’s fantasy world and Paula Rego’s claustrophobic anxieties elsewhere. But Boynton’s creations are far more than the sum of these influences.

Whether she is conjuring a multifarious gathering of characters from the sparest of means - witness the scrawls and smudges of greenish, tarry black that she uses in Crowd (2008) -- or focusing on a single individual, Boynton’s ability to breathe life into her images is often quite unsettling. In her coloristically complex Girl With Vase (2008), the girl’s hair is flaming red, her dress shifts from a flurry of buttery yellows through marshmallow pinks — but the composition itself is the simplest thing. As the title says, it’s a girl standing by a vase of flowers. The face, brushily overworked and scarred with a wide downturned mouth and misshapen eyes that look off to one side, registers as deep as what you’d find in a contemporary news photograph. Her life is so soured, it would seem, that the plants in her vase have mutated and discolored in response. This makes for an unforgettable picture."

- Robert Ayers

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