Black Velvet If You Please: The Paintings of Tony Shore

By Stephen Wozniak, January 2023

To read my new review, “Black Velvet If You Please: The Paintings of Tony Shore” in the January 2023 issue of the White Magazine of Contemporary Art, click here: Black Velvet If You Please: The Paintings of Tony Shore

Black Velvet If You Please
Paintings by Tony Shore
November 19, 2022 – January 15, 2023

Carlye Packer
2111 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90026
Telephone: (310) 428-6975
Curated by Michael Sherman


Imagination without reason produces impossible monsters; with reason, it becomes the mother of the arts, and the source of its marvels.”

– Francisco Goya

The new work on view in Tony Shore’s Black Velvet If You Please solo painting exhibition at Carlye Packer in Los Angeles is extraordinary, majestic and magical. For years, he’s drawn heavily on his work-a-day world family history, personal story and localized incidents that touch upon both profane and beautiful elements, which constitute the ever-present – yet often forgotten and mishandled – blue-collar ecology. The work is a place for acceptance, contemplation and arresting emotional experience. It also provides a type of fright relief that the night represents to the many on the outs and sometimes to those just barely inside.

His realistic works seem traditional in many formal ways, while the moment he chooses to examine seems to happen without us, something vastly different than a Michelangelo Biblical highlight or a royal Vermeer portrait. Yet, we are afforded this private, privileged view – like a secret revealed – whether about ourselves, our neighbors or people just like us all the way around the world. From Francisco Goya to Francis Bacon, Shore is among great company who use the blackness of the night, darkness of the ground and strenuous life trials that make the figures that pass through his important little scenes come alive just before their “La petite mort” or little deaths. Viewed altogether in this show, these works remind us of the common plight we all undergo. They evoke in viewers our common mistakes, desires and the interesting outcomes that define our struggle – and occasional success – in this life that runs right next to death. Luckily, Tony Shore transforms our experience with ample compassion for and understanding of the fringe that makes up the world he briefly acquires – and then recreates.


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About Tony Shore

Tony Shore is a Baltimore-based artist and former Chair of the Painting Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, MFA from Yale University School of Art, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His Awards include The Walter and Janet Sondheim Prize, The Bethesda Painting Prize, a Baltimore Artist Rubys Grant, several Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, and a Franz and Virginia Bader Grant. Shore has exhibited his work at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Delaware Art Museum, The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, The Noyes Museum, the Kunstalle Beacon, George Adams Gallery, C. Grimadis Gallery, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts and numerous other galleries throughout the U.S. He has also shown internationally in France and numerous museums throughout China.

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About Stephen Wozniak

Stephen Wozniak is a visual artist, writer, show host and actor based in Los Angeles. His works have been exhibited in the Bradbury Art Museum, Cameron Art Museum, Leo Castelli Gallery at Brenau University, and Lincoln Center, among others. He has performed principal roles on the network television series Star Trek: Enterprise, NCIS: Los Angeles, and the double Emmy Award-nominated television special Time Machine: Beyond the Da Vinci Code, among others. He co-hosted the performing arts weekly series Center Stage on KXLU radio in Los Angeles and currently guest hosts Art World: The Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art podcast in New York City. He earned a B.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

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