Summer Nocturne


There are some splendid dark paintings on view right now. What they share is not only the achromatic richness of night, but a reductive sensibility expressed via geometric means. 

Porfirio DiDonna: Paintings from the 1970s at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Chelsea, through July 31
Porfirio DiDonna, Untitled, 1971, acrylic and graphite on canvas

Installation view above
Detail below

Porfirio DiDonna (1942-1986) had a short year career that left a long legacy. In Paintings from the 1970s at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, we see a selection of large-scale and smaller paintings in which DiDonna's geometry is formed and delineated by dots. The work, which seems to have been painted with points of light, references music, mathematics, the heavens, perhaps infinity itself. A Brooklyn native, DiDonna showed regularly in Boston at Neilsen Gallery (where I first saw his work years ago) and in New York City at OK Harris. His 15-year career was cut short by a brain tumor.

Go spend some time with the paintings in this show. Look at the work on paper in the viewing room, too. Like Eva Hesse, one wonders what he might have done with another few decades.

Porfirio DiDonna, Untitled, 1970-71, acrylic and graphite on canvas,
96 x 60 inches
Detail below

DiDonna: An installation of three, shown individually below, whose compositional placement and cadence suggest music 

Untitled, 1970, oil on canvas

Untitled, 1976, oil and graphite on canvas

Untitled, 1974, oil on linen

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The 65th Annual Art of the Northeast exhibition  at Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, Connecticut, through July 26 

Installation view at Silvermine Arts Center

The exhibition, something of an institution in the area, was juried this year by Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam. Three works on the wall by Nancy Natale--back wall, image above--are shown individually below. To be honest, the exhibition doesn't merit a special trip, but if you're in the area, yes, go. However, I think Natale's work is terrific--very much worth seeing--if not here, then at Arden Gallery in Boston, and wherever else she might be showing.

The dot elements in Natale's assemblages are from tacks, which hold down strips of repurposed rubber or, here, leather. The smoother compositional elements come via encaustic. Together they form a kind of skin-versus-skin surface, but what really does it for me is the power of reductive geometry with a strongly material sensibility.

Nancy Natale: Flap, 2015, 18 x 18 inches

Passage,2015, 18 x 18 inches

Unveiled, 2015, 18 x 18 inches

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Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art, Lower East Side

A selection of Voisines in the gallery's back room, which is open for viewing

I missed Don Voisine's solo last month so I was thrilled to see a small selection of works on viewing shelves in the gallery's back room. A few are from the exhibition and a few had just arrived. Voisine's devotion to the reductive, to the dark, to the hard edge has been honed to exquisite precision. Squares, rectangles, and parallellograms are choreographed to collide or layer, matte against shiny, shape over shape. And those negative areas are like keyholes into a deeper space that suggests unexpected dimension behind the picture plane.

(The current solo is of sensually chromatic new work by Maureen McQuillan through August 15.)

Untitled, 2015, oil on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches
This and the following images from the gallery's website

Bluff, 2014, oil on wood panel, 18 x 28 inches

K, 2014, oil on wood panel, 22 x 24 inches

Ticket, 2014, oil on wood panel, 28 x 18 inches


Sue Marrazzo said...

Love it all!

Joey Harrison said...

Your spare description of Voisine's work says a lot.