Stuckey and Cope at Schmidt Dean Gallery
‘Dallas’ on steroidsANDREW MANGRAVITE
Tracy Stuckey’s world is a curious place. It’s a fantasy image of the New West, where the girls are curvier, the bikinis are briefer and the guns are bigger and shinier. In this man’s West, good ol’ boys piss on the patio, girls frolic on beaches while flights of World War II-era bombers pass overhead, and even a A-blast isn’t allowed to interrupt a barbecue presided over by a guy in a cowboy-hat who looks a lot like Stuckey himself.
In Stuckey’s West, guys pose on bomb casings with their handguns and gorgeous blondes walk their poodles with a golf club to beat off the coyotes.
Stuckey presents us with a sort of “Dallas” on steroids that, I assume, is meant to be satirical— a sort of love pushed over into idol-worship. His draftsmanship is excellent, as three large drawings accompanying the eight oil paintings will attest. And he possesses a gift for presenting almost operatic drama in a totally deadpan manner. Tracy Stuckey may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like him just fine.
Cope’s mysterious rings
Paired with Stuckey is Steve Cope, who is represented by 21 small oils of landscapes mounted on panels. Again, the draftsmanship is above reproach, and Cope has selected some of the world’s most gorgeous landscapes to be reproduced as small jewel-like images.
Then there’s the ring. Did I forget to mention it? Each of the 21 oils has a multi-hued ring lurking somewhere in the image— sometimes floating insouciantly overhead, other times camouflaged somewhere in the alluring landscape.
I’m not quite sure what Cope meant the ring to represent. I see it as a sort of intrusion of a second layer of reality, reminding us that what we see is not all that we get. The ring jolts us out of merely staring at a pretty landscape and into recognizing that we’re staring at a created work: something artificial, created by Cope’s hand. Or maybe the ring represents God.
Anyway, we have beautiful landscapes, beautiful blondes, rings and coyotes. This is show well worth seeing.♦