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New Path for Painter:

By Henry Lehmann Special to The Gazette, Saturday, June 30, 2001

Shirley Katz has moved into a new phase in her career; moving from satirical works to portraits. Her work is at McGill's Thomson House.
That artist Shirley Katz is moving into a new phase is made clear in the show of her work at McGill's Thomson House. Lining the walls of this venerable place, now a permanent venue for exhibitions organized by David Astrof, are 35 paintings, drawings and prints, tracing Katz's evolution from satirist to painter of psychological portraits.
In the recent works, usually portraits done from live people, often models, the satire has been entirely scraped off. Especially striking are sombre pastels, carefully calibrating a focus on personality with sheer love of sinewy, satiny surface. The art of Prudence Heward comes to mind.
In the portrait "Jeff", we see the extent to which Katz, who has real mastery of human anatomy, is able to intentionally use distortion. In this painting, the subject's whole body, with its subtly shrunk torso, is cradled by the rectangular format. The result makes the man regress into a vaguely childlike state, but the portrait doesn't descend into cartoon or caricature.
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