There’s something too restrained about Luke Painter‘s ink on paper works displayed at Galerie Trois Points. They manage to be not quite lively enough to be successfully decorative and yet still not quite developed enough to be the backgrounds for a graphic novel. There’s not enough atmosphere for either. A sense of expressionistic set design runs throughout the pieces. He even titles one Blue Room (Dark Italics Dr Caligri). It is reminiscent of Weine’s classic film (though perhaps more of Laughton’s The Night Hunter sets). To up the ante, he sets the work in a slanted frame (thus italic). This underlining of his images points more to what they are missing than to anything else. They don’t express much, they just stage it. What results from this is an oddity: spaces without place. They are one liners that run in a vacuum of unlimited time. There’s something interesting about that. I can’t imagine what it is. That’s what’s interesting… the not imagining of the image. If, in practice, this often makes them come off like throwaway set designs from a forgettable 80s kids movie (Gardens [Basilius Besler] is reminiscent of some of the sets of Return to Oz) or a no budget dystopian fantasy, it also makes them strangely close to Minimalism. The best summary of the show is probably Fantasy 02 which provides both the overgrown yet wispy vegetation he seems fond of with romantic Gothic ruins and a gaudy sign that could be from a strip club or a Bruce Nauman. However, his restraint, his overbearing push to being not quite something or other, dissolves any tension that his compositions could hold and leaves them feeling flatter than wallpaper.