"The Masculine Mystique"
By Ferdinand Protzman
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday , May 11, 2000 ; Page C05
"Reprinted with permission from the Washington Post and Ferdinand Portzman"

Masculinity, mutability, mysticism, sexuality, nudity and very good contemporary figure painting are the highlights of Fraser Gallery's bizarrely fascinating exhibition of allegorical works by Erik Sandberg and John Jacobsmeyer.

Sandberg is a gifted young painter whose small, dark oils depict in exquisite detail people in various stages of undress performing a variety of contortions and acts that cannot be mentioned or shown in a family newspaper. Think Hieronymus Bosch meets Madonna at a leather gym. There's nothing easy about these works that seem to depict a multitude of virtues and vices, but it's hard to look away.

Jacobsmeyer paints the action figure G.I. Joe in a variety of scenes--mostly magnificent landscapes--that serve to show the millennial male's rites of passage to a confused and ambiguous understanding of his place in society.

This Joe is buff but not brutal or omniscient. His inner child seems to be running the show. But the paintings are so appealing visually, full of vibrant colors and wide vistas, that the male issues are almost moot, which may be the point.

Erik Sandberg, John Jacobsmeyer at Fraser Gallery, 1054 31st St. NW, Tuesday-Friday, noon-3 p.m., Saturday, noon-6 p.m., 202-298-6450, through May 17.

2000 The Washington Post Company

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