On the Geometric Trail: Part Seven

On the Geometric Trail, Part Two: SoHo

On the Geometric Trail, Part Three: Isensee

On the Geometric Trail, Part Four: Two of a Kind

On the Geometric Trail, Part Five: McKenzie

On the Geometric Trail, Part Six: Zox and Martin

Harriet Korman at Lennon, Weinberg
Juan Usle at Cheim & Read

Harriet Korman at Lennon, Weinberg: Installation view looking toward the back of the gallery

Harriet Korman’s solo show is no longer up at Lennon, Weinberg, but that doesn’t mean I can’t show you a few pictures. Her painting, with its hard edges, shifting planes and saturated hues, is geometric abstraction in a modernist vein. There’s a bit of the cubist composition in her work, with its loopy intersections and Matissean shapes, but her seemingly straight-from-the-tube color and strong graphic quality give the work a signature that is unmistakably her own: joyous but rigorous.

As an artist who works serially, I like to see how other artists explore or attenuate an idea. Here, two paintings with a similar composition-- and even some similar color passages--allow
you to eavesdrop on their conversation

Is it me, or is there a suggestion of landscape in these paintings?

New for me is the painting, above, in which patches of color are painted with roughly equidistant parallel lines. I like this rectilinear order. I want to say that I’ve seen this composition, or something like it, while flying over the country’s midsection at 30,000 feet, but that’s not quite right, for while I perceive something of a landscape in this work—in both paintings shown above, in fact—I’m not at all sure it was intended. I don't think Korman is making paintings that are about anything but painting.

Despite their almost playful color and composition, these paintings establish boundaries between themselves and the viewer. Maybe it's their mid-range size or relatively uninflected color. Or maybe it's that intellectual rigor. You step back to see these painting, and each painting seems to say, "You stand there." That's fine. I can dig them from a few feet away.

Juan Usle at Cheim & Read

Juan Usle at Cheim & Read: Installation view taken from the gallery's website

Juan Usle’s paintings, on the other hand seem to whisper, "Come closer, mi amor." Maybe it’s their small size—his show, "Brezales," at Cheim & Read consists of fewer than a dozen small canvases (and two large ones)—but they exude something that just pulls you in. While there’s a new fluid line in some of the paintings, I’m fonder of the rectilinear compositions, patchworks of color and visual texture that are marvels of painterliness. The gallery’s press release describes the work as "organic geometry." That’s a good term, because the grid has been constructed block by block within the composition rather than imposed onto it; moreover, the color is fluid and the mark of the brush very much in evidence. (Usle uses pigment in a vinyl dispersion medium to get the streaked, almost textile-like surfaces of his color, and from the looks of the linearity of the application, I'd say he uses something like a squeegee as well as a brush. )

Juan Usle: La Camara Oculta, 2007, vinyl, dispersion and dry pigment on canvas, 18 x 12 inches.

Above: installation view of the small front gallery, from the gallery's website

Below: Miron, 2006-07, vinyl, dispersion and dry pigment on canvas, 12 x 18 inches.The gallery press release calls his work "organic geometry," and you can really see that here--the way the artist has dragged and pushed his pigment, creating lines that waver and vibrate

Juan Usle: Installation view of Cada Vez Mas Cerca, 2006-07, 24 x 18 inches, left; and Sone Que Revelabas (Tigris), 2007, 108 x 80 inches; both vinyl, dispersion and dry pigment on canvas. Installation shot from the gallery's website

"Brezales" is up through this weekend. If you’re reading this blog before March 15 and you’re in New York, log off and go see it.


Anonymous said...

Korman is great. I can't think of anything intelligent to add. Love the new "hatching" style, too.

anne mcgovern said...

As a former New Yorker currently residing in Scottsdale, Arizona I can't tell you how grateful I am for your stimulating reviews and excellent photographs of the New York shows. Please, keep up the good work!

Martin said...

agree with vic on korman. i like scrolling through your blog and looking at some of this stuff again.