In this female critic's eye, the most successful works are those that stray from the over-sexualization of the subject, but still focus on the contours of the idealized female form. Two paintings featured early in the show are more reductive than others, quelling the busyness and embellishment of later paintings to a distilled and contained form. "Swoop," painted in 1993, portrays a female gladiator or partial fembot careening into an atmospheric space in a nautilus-like shape. Futurist lines slightly interrupt the architecture of the composition. In "For Myra," the shadows created by a woman bending over create a beautiful fragmented effect that eventually severs the figures arm and face from the rest of her smooth body. A warm Southwestern glow lifts the scene into the surreal. In both paintings the faces are mask-like, conveying no emotion, casting the women as mastheads.

Annie Larmon can be reached at

"PIVOT" | paintings by Daniel Meiklejohn | at Fore River Gallery, 613 Congress St, Portland | through January 30 | 207.791.2723

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