Dana Schutz makes a triumphant return at Petzel Gallery with a series of grand and self-confident disaster paintings that narrate fragmented tales of greed, ecological calamity, political turmoil, and emotional poverty. Wilfully vulgar and raw, her rebellious compositions are loaded with dark premonitions and inhabit cartoonishly grotesque creatures in apocalyptic scenes where the vulgarity of the human condition is laid bare. Schutz’s malignant contortions are underscored by a foreboding color palette where even the occasional ray of sunshine seems to be clouded by acid rain and by a virtuosic line that serves only to underscore pompous vain-gloriousness and greed. Amidst the chaos, Schutz does not shirk personal demons. The controversy surrounding her “Open Casket” painting at last year’s Whitney Biennial and the ensuing public outcry is stalking the artist in “The Visible World”. Here, Schutz appears to be sacrificed on an island in the middle of a landfill (or an ocean resembling a garbage dump) and given the raspberry by a seagull with an overly big beak – a bitter allegory perhaps to the sacrificial offerings that art sometimes must make in order to move forward. When formal excellence, intensity and symbolism get paired with a healthy dose of unflinching personal introspection and an uncanny ability to perceive our current world, we know that we have found a painter in the truest sense of the word. At Petzel through February 23.