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Kevin Starr, artist/gallery owner

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Kevin Starr is Charlotte's Andy Warhol. He is, or has been, an award winning hair stylist, a pianist, photographer, painter and now -- in his most recent incarnation -- a Plaza Midwood provocateur.

The Kevin Starr Art Studio is in a cubed brick building in a sea of asphalt behind the Family Dollar store on Central Avenue. His studio is one of the new art emporiums cropping up in various unexpected dollops of recently ignored property off the beaten path. He's new breath; always a good thing.

The artist Kevin Starr is an artist who brings to mind a blob of mercury floating on a sheet of glass -- hard not to look at, hard to pin down. His work careens between high-style fashion photography and high-impact, guts-laid-bare painting. His two personalities meld the self conscious stylishness of fashion with the messy goo of a painterly emotional blitz -- kind of like Kate Moss on acid. An unsettling, but temporarily intoxicating, mix.

The fashion photography looks to me like it could have jumped off the pages of Vogue or Cosmo. Dramatic, sometimes feral looking women pout and often sprout feathers. Tightly-bound torsos in satin or silk and synthetic, shiny garb titillate and enrapture the looker. It works OK for me, but I'll defer to Tyra.

Starr's paintings are expressionistic, pure color or near-pure color, combinations of subject matter dominated by human forms. He includes man-made forms made organic under the artist's hand. His forms vibrate in fields of saturated primary and tertiary hues. And stun on impact. His art is take your breath away -- either loathing or exhilaration. Different strokes.

Starr has traveled many roads which have now led here. He is part of Charlotte. Go see his paintings, and the paintings of those he considers worthy, in September. For information go to kevinsstarrartstudio.com.

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