Green merges realist skills with decorative patterns and borders. His paintings include two overlapping images of his face, repeating images of a woman on a bench against a floral patterned background, and Momma Always Told Me That I Would Never Have To Go Far To Find Myself, a double portrait of a man in which the two bodies are joined at the shoulders. This twinning is surreal, but its meaning is vague. As with Telfort, he's a talented painter still figuring out how to convey his subject.

Back at AS220's main gallery, Providence artist Rebecca Zub, who studied illustration at RISD, offers random abstract doodles and children's book-style paintings of a rodent digging up under a growing carrot and a snail climbing up a fern. Cactus Flower depicts a big yellow blossom blooming along a row of cacti. The images are outlined in black ink and painted in transparent watercolor and acrylic washes that let the grain of the board it's painted on show through. It feels like Zub is searching for a subject, but her illustration style charms.

This repeated issue over how to instill new realist paintings with meaning is representative of where traditional realism stands today. Among the skills that seemingly atrophied as the fine art world abandoned realism was not just how to wow by painting representationally, but what to say with it.

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