Part of the allure of Corey Lamb’s works, where bold subject matter writhes in colorful drama,  is that some of the most erotic elements almost feel like abstraction. The way the Florida painter places male and female anatomy just front and center, sometimes in foliage or in straight close-ups, demands a double-take, as if Lamb is commanding you to re-engage with yourself and your body in the most simple way, yet it comes across as almost too complex to comprehend.

Hashimoto Contemporary points out how the roles in his work, “The mother, the lover, the fool, and the serpent,” seem familiar but are balanced with deep greens and reds. Sex and self-pleasure are central, as well. In his last solo show with Hashimoto’s San Francisco space, 2020’s Verdant, Lamb talked about a “deep melancholy and absolute bliss” in the works, which, in turn, adds so much appeal to the near-eroticsm in his newest solo show, Circadian, at Hashimoto Contemporary in NYC. He portrays a delicate tension between the figures in the paintings, between our own relationships with intimacy and our understanding of roles in sex that is ripe for discussion. “Sex is so wrapped up in the idea of gratification that its utility is often forgotten or a complete afterthought,” Lamb told us in 2020. “My own way of dealing with this was through the presentation of the penis and vagina very directly and with a bit of humor.” But don’t let the humor fool you: there is a depth even in the straightforward nudes we see here. “I use sex or death as a sleight of hand to talk about other more complex aspects of a relationship,” he says, and it’s a revealing conversation that is bound to continue. —Evan Pricco