"Bather" (2014) by Walter Robinson (Image courtesy of Owen James Gallery)

“Bather” (2014) by Walter Robinson (Image courtesy of Owen James Gallery)

We’ve all seen the “massage girl” advertisements lurking at the back of alternative weeklies and the grainier budget versions of escort ads spamming the nether regions of the internet– signs that a legitimate underworld of body-business is still solidly stuck to the underside of the white market. It’s ever-present, and in some ways unchanging. These familiar “backpage ads” are the source images for art-critic-turned-artist Walter Robinson‘s blurry acrylic renderings on view at There’s a Bluebird in My Heart, a new show opening Friday, April 8 at Owen James Gallery in Greenpoint.

The paintings depicting doe-eyed girls wearing slinky loungewear, long tresses, and pouty demeanors, account for about half the show, while the rest consists of still-lifes of liquor bottles, cigarettes, and pill bottles. “It’s basically a two-artist show,” explained Owen Houhoulis, owner of Owen James. “One is a longtime New York artist and the other is the well-known poet Charles Bukowski.” Really, though, the show is a three-way effort between curator, painter, and the late, great drunken poet, as well as a way for Houhoulis to realize a longtime dream of putting together a curatorial homage to Bukowski.

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