She's been called a 'hyper-realist," someone who brings a laser-sharp vision to the depiction of distressed inner-city scenes. But because those scenes are peculiar to this place where even slums have a certain tactile charm, Shirley Rabé Masinter's paintings are paradoxical documents of urban dysfunction that nonetheless convey something of the poetry of those places. So if the rotting wood and peeling paint of Ruth's Cozy Corner (pictured) suggests decades of neglect, there is also something almost congenial about its faded offerings of 'fresh cigarettes" and Jax Beer despite a take-out window that looks as if it's been shuttered for as long as Jax has been out of business. Now in her 70s, Masinter paints with a hawk's eye for those details that make even the most desolate places come to life with the shadows and echoes of those who once partied so heartily inside.
D. Eric Bookhardt
Through Dec. 29
LeMieux Galleries, 332 Julia St., 522-5988; www.lemieuxgalleries.com