This post began a month ago when I saw the shows of two artists, Richard Bottwin and Stanley Whitney. Both were in SoHo, Bottwin at OK Harris, Whitney at Team, and I was struck by the geometric brilliance of their work--Bottwin's so spare (and deceptively complex) as it juts out from the wall; Whitney's flat canvases so packed with relationships--color to shape, brush stroke to surface, layer to layer, field to edge--that they felt sculptural. Before I published it, I saw additional work that fit the theme and so I postponed the post. Then I saw so much more I had to revise the post to the one you see here.
Most of the work is what you would call painting, but there’s a strong sense of dimensionality in even the flattest work, Whitney's painting a case in point (just as there is a strong sense of painting in Bottwin's sculptures). Much of the work is geometric, even if there’s a sense of the organic about it. The hand is everywhere present, process is implied, and there is a deeply satisfying sense of materiality.
I wrote about Whitney's work just about a year ago. It was the first time I'd seen it. Whitney is like the Agnes Martin of geometric abstraction in the way he hews to his particulars: same-size canvases, same strong saturated palette, same kind of rhythmic composition--two rows of large blocks over two rows of more compressed shapes. It's easy to think you know this work until you spend time with it. I'm still getting to know it.
Matthew Langley at Blank Space: Installation view, above, and a painting I particularly like, below. More images on Langley's blog
Below: All Her Songs, 2009, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches .
Installation view: Lloyd Martin at Stephen Haller: Large work is Current, 2009, oil on canvas, 72 x 144 inches
Below, installation view with Quick Sand, 2007, 39 x 117 inches; both acrylic on white cedar shims with wire brads
Richard Bottwin at OK Harris through February 20
Stanley Whitney at Team; over, Jan 6-Feb 6
Roy Newell at Carolina Nitsch Project Room through February 20
Matthew Langley (with Heejo Kim) at Blank Space; over Jan 14-Feb 2
Lloyd Martin at Stephen Haller through February 20
Rick Klauber at Howard Scott through February 27
Scott Richter at Elizabeth Harris through March 13
In Part 2, next week
Carolanna Parlato at Elizabeth Harris Gallery through March 13
Christopher Tanner at Pavel Zoubok through March 13
Diane Ayott at Kathryn Markel through March 13
Renee Magnanti at Tenri Cultural Institute through February 27
Chinese Lacquer at the Met through February 21