Of the handful of artists who chose landscape as their subject matter, perhaps it is Cecily Brown who conveys its lushness and immediacy most effectively. Brown continues a theme found in her abstract-expressionistic oil paintings included in the most recent Whitney Biennial by portraying emergent forms amid slashing fields of color. Employing a palette ranging from washed-out flesh tones to neon yellows and greens, her single, untitled monotype depicts signs of an ambiguous figure being, quite literally, consumed by its surroundings. A more benign take on vegetation can be found in Ellsworth Kelly's decorative line-drawing lithographs, respectively entitled "Lemon Branch" and "Fig Branch," as well as Georgia Marsh's austere, Japanese-inspired etching of barren trees in the snow "Cold Moon 2."
In the exhibit's only example of purely conceptual work, neo-minimalist Mel Bochner carries on with his career-long practice of examining the nuances found within familiar systems and structures. Each of his two 18-inch by 24-inch embossed mono-prints contains overlapping daubs of color superimposed by a lightly contrasted block of wording. In the work entitled "Indifference," Bochner strings together the word indifference and a seemingly endless procession of its synonyms; such as sloth, coldness, coolness, disinterest, and so on. This string of wording creates a run-on sentence that constantly reiterates itself, essentially static in terms of content or narrative. Thus, in a witty twist, Bochner uses the rigid sentence construction to simultaneously flatten both the verbal and the spatial planes.
From Alex Katz's two close-cropped portraits and the photo-realism of Chuck Close and Richard Estes, to the illustrative cartoon work of ever-versatile Red Grooms, the exhibition is the visual equivalent of a tray of appetizers. Whether you are familiar with the contributions that mostS
"Works on Paper" is on display through Aug. 20 at the Reynolds Gallery, 1514 W. Main St.
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