Painting: Unphotography

In a season when a number of dealers and publications have been touting "photographic realism" as the latest new trend, at least two of Manhattan's abler painters have proudly displayed what might be called unphotographic realism. Their canvases differ widely, but both Jack Beal, 37, and Joseph Raffael, 36, invest the visible world with invisible qualities of fantasy and imagination.

Large, big-shouldered and calmly slow of speech, Virginia-born Jack Beal does not consider his pensive portrayals of present-day odalisques as outright fantasy. Rather, he says, they are a reaction against the ephemeral...

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