Michael Tompkins was born to paint plywood—to be precise, the edges of plywood panels. In each of the five paintings in his New York debut at the Paul Thiebaud Gallery, Mr. Tompkins brings an astonishing gift for trompe l’oeil mimicry to depictions of the sad sack of lumber. Aligned along the bottom edge of each canvas, exquisitely limned plywood planks hold a variety of objects. To name just a few: fruit, a flashlight, a billiard ball, a roll of twine, books about Arthur Dove and by Monica Ali, power tools, marbles and a bottle of A-1 steak sauce, albeit without the telltale logo.
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