Brooklyn painter Jim Torok has been making small oil portraits on panel of his friends and acquaintances for twenty years. He is also known for his comic-style paintings. “The (New) Age of Uncertainty” contains a satisfying selection of both. The majority are detailed heads of sitters who express no emotion. Particularly strong are two portraits of his wife, the artist Mary Carlson, and another of the artist Mickalene Thomas (all works 2016). If these meticulously painted heads evoke clarity and focus, several acrylic paintings laid out like storyboards reveal troubles and tribulations. I Went to Mid-Town relates his experience of being corralled by police barricades outside of the subway near Trump Tower on the way to the doctor. I Am Feeling Quite Anxious (again) lays out the reasons for his sleeplessness: “It just seems the stage is set for disaster and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.” The catharsis of these works enhances the appreciation of the composure of the portraits. —Cathy Lebowitz
Pictured: Jim Torok: I Went to Mid-Town, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 16 by 20 inches. Courtesy Pierogi, New York. Photo Alan Wiener.