BOB TIMBERLAKE: At the Corcoran, through Aug. 30.
Contrived still-lifes, the kind of too-pretty realism that gives calendar art a bad name, don't do much for major galleries, either.
The Bob Timberlake show at the Corcoran is three rooms of wooden ducks, fruits, pansies, barns, pumpkins in the snow and -- no kidding -- a Raggedy Ann beneath a Christmas wreath. Quilts, too, and grainy wood: watercolor and tempera paintings so close to cutesy that they make you wince, And sweat. Be forewarned: The sun-roofed galleries are not air-conditioned.
It's easy to see why the North Carolina artist, a fan of Andrew Wyeth who took up painting in 1970, was named 1980 United States Christmas Stamp artist and Official Artist of Keep American Beautiful. But what are Timberlake's Hallmark-style visions doing across the hall from six wild Peter Max "Statue of Liberty" paintings, there through August 24?
Jane Livingston, Corcoran associate director, calls Timberlake a "fine craftsman in a conservative, popular style that follows a long tradition of American illustration art. It's nostalgic."
But what about the rural sentimentality, so out of character for the Corcoran's walls? Livingston says, "Pressed to the wall, I'll defend the show . . . We need more money to complete the air-conditioning program. Maybe if people mail in $25. . ."
Timberlake's watercolar bushel of blueberries is finely crafted, even if the light seems fake; and the shadows, leaves and cracked wooden porches are done in exacting, nearly photogenic detail. But in the end, you almost expect those starely great-eyed poster children to pop up behind the daisies.