Washington Post: Seth Rosenberg

September 30, 2011

By Michael O'Sullivan

Art retrospectives - even partial ones - are sometimes presaged by tragedy. That's true in the case of Seth Rosenberg, a longtime Washington painter, framer and gallery owner whose untimely death, from a heart attack, in 2009 has precipitated an affectionate, if rueful, look at the work he created in the last few years of his life.

"Seth Rosenberg: The Cleveland Years" at the McLean Project for the Arts features paintings and prints made after Rosenberg sold his gallery and framing business, District Fine Arts, and moved to Cleveland with his family to take care of an ailing relative of his wife's in 2005. For those who remember the artist's signature, abstract style - a lively pileup of bold, clashing patterns, like plaid pants with a striped shirt - the show will come as a surprise.

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Clevelend, it documents a new, yet not entirely illogical, evolution away from abstraction and toward representation. It also has a sadness beyond the obvious.

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