Alex Kanevsky, aka Adele Lack

Yesterday evening, I decided to re-watch Synecdoche, New York while folding my laundry.  I wasn’t feeling terribly happy, so I kind of knew I was picking at a scab there, but I’ve always been more inclined to sink comfortably into sadness rather than try to will myself out of it, so I guess it’s not too surprising I went with Synecdoche over, say, Bridesmaids.  To my credit, though, I only teared up maybe two or three times, and tears actually fell only when Ellen’s mom tells Philip Seymour Hoffman that she’s proud of him.

Anyway, I was thinking about Adele Lack’s paintings, and about how it would be cool if someone would make a poster for the retrospective show she “had” at the Met, a la this:

This is supposed to be PSH...

This is supposed to be PSH…

And then I discovered the work of Alex Kanevsky, the real Adele Lack.  Kanevsky is a Russia-born, Lithuania-educated, Philadelphia-based painter who also teaches and produces drawings.  A little bit of wisdom from Kanevsky, below:

Q: You’re considered by many artists and critics to be extremely at ease in your drawing and painting skills. But you often talk about how difficult you find painting. What are you struggling with right now?

AK: Well, it is the road with no end. As your skills inevitably get better with time, you expect more from yourself. Skills in themselves, beyond certain serviceable level, don’t matter very much, but I always want to function at the limit of my current abilities to keep things exciting. There should always be danger of painting crushing and burning. I want painting to be difficult so that there is always room for failure. Working this way has an unintended consequence of improving the skills.

The struggle then has nothing to do with the technical difficulties and the level of skills. The struggle is mostly to find clarity.

And one of many beautiful pieces here.  Something dreamy about them, no?  The blurriness makes you feel like you’re waking up to the scene.


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