In his eerily calm seascapes, Saul Becker envisions what seems a time after humans have departed for further, metaphysical shores. Mr. Becker, who lives in Brooklyn, paints with meticulous attention to detail, and he renders subtleties of space and atmosphere in a palette of grays and blues reminiscent of Whistler's. While calling to mind seascapes by 19th-century American Luminists, his near-Photorealist pictures convey an infectious, distinctly contemporary mood of existential perplexity.
In ''Cornucopia,'' sections of old sewer pipe sink into a gravel beach in the foreground, while great masses of rock rise from the flat sea beyond. It is like seeing through the eyes of the last man on earth.
Mr. Becker exercises a rigorously formal approach. ''Shore,'' which depicts a pair of weathered concrete traffic barriers partly adorned by fading graffiti on the edge of a pier, has a tautly frontal composition that invites close inspection of the picture's smoothly sensuous surface. At the same time, illusory space extends to the oceanic horizon, producing that tension between flatness and depth so dear to the hearts of Modernist painters from Monet to Rothko.
One of the exhibition's five paintings has intense color: a glowing green sky and turquoise water with the great, dark block of a concrete pier filling most of the picture's left side. A trio of pilings poke their tops up over the reflective, light-dappled water in the foreground. Whether the green sky augurs a new beginning or a toxic finality is anyone's guess.