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Ilene Meyer: Paintings, Drawings, Perceptions

28/11/2005. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

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pub: Underwood Books. 128 page illustrated hardback. Price: $29.95 (US), $41.95 (CAN). ISBN: 1-887424-79-2.

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It's always a nice surprise to come across another publisher who specialises in SF/fantasy art. Even better when their books have so much to offer, especially as they rarely appear in the UK and feel the word should be spread.

This book encases the artwork of Ilene Meyer. A self-taught artist who progressed up from doing 7 years of still life to doing fantastic art which shows a remarkable range of style as well as design. Meyer hasn't forgotten her roots with still life but adds twists that ensure you study the paintings for the elaborate detail. She also has a good composition technique when it comes to blending various objects, people and animals into a picture with an occasional pre-occupation to included 60s check-design materials which might be deemed more a trademark of her work.

If I have to be critical, then it can only be with how she paints the skins of her humans. Although tonally colourful, they are much the same the rest of the palate, more dependent on colour than matching the grades you see in life. As you have to look very hard to find the dates on the paintings rather than with the blurb, it does make it a little harder to assess how early they were done as the art here covers over 20 years.

Having said that, Meyer's work shows a remarkable versatility with animals - real, imagined and hybrid - with some incredible humour. Meyer points out that she sells a lot of original commissions to the Japanese. None of this work looks as though it was specifically designed for book covers so there are no intentional dead areas for titles. No doubt this book will sell like hot cakes over there so best to get your copy while its still a first edition.

GF Willmetts

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