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New Uses for Old Things 

When: Feb. 12-23 2013

Saxapahaw painter Robin Walker gives Durham its first look at her work in New Uses for Old Things. She often updates historical paintings, replacing the old male protagonists with contemporary women. For instance, her "A Real Simple Supper" imagines how Martha Stewart might do "The Last Supper." But with their layered and labored surfaces, these paintings are ambiguous critiques rather than punch lines. At times, her garish coloration and expressive gesture and drip approach the scary aesthetic of Francis Bacon, but she dials it back through an overall decorative sense. Walker's paintings look collaged even if they're not—she more often chooses to painstakingly paint patterned fabric rather than glue the fabric to the painting—although some works incorporate collage elements such as plastic flowers, fabric and paper. The exhibit opens Tuesday and runs through Feb. 23, with a reception Feb. 15 from 6–9 p.m. —Chris Vitiello

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