April Kingsley

  • Adolph Gottlieb

    Adolph Gottlieb’s first one-man show in New York since 1967 rounds out the series we’ve seen this fall of new paintings by major Abstract Expressionists. Despite his recent serious illness his familiar images—the blasts or burst and the imaginary landscape—look stronger than they have in many years. He has even broken with his expected vertical format to create a huge horizontal triptych. The usual system is to bisect the canvas horizontally into broad areas of nuanced ground. He then activates one or both sides of this separation with sky or earth symbols. Gottlieb’s retinal color operates to

  • Willard Midgette

    The cool detachment of Bruder’s approach is similar to that of Willard Midgette. Midgette is quite specific about his subject matter, however; in Choreography: The Paul Taylor Company, for example, he intends each head to be a likeness and renders each environmental detail as exactly as possible. The endeavor eliminates all significant traces of the artist’s sensibility normally discernible in color and touch. Neither has any independent existence in his work. They are completely subjugated to the illusionistic rendition of his subject. The ingenuousness of Midgette’s approach, like that of an

  • Wolf Kahn

    Wolf Kahn, working in an Impressionist style, takes a disinterested attitude toward specificity of his subject. He is more interested in painterly means than either Bruder or Midgette. Some of his country barn and house paintings are practically abstract, having been blurred out of focus. This is especially true of the gray, fog-enshrouded earlier landscapes. Kahn aligns barn edges with the picture edge, eliminates detail, and uses strong compositional thrusts in many of his paintings; these formal devices save the paintings from banality. The painterliness of his impasto operates to advantage

  • Agnes Denes

    If diligence, intellectual curiosity, a good heart, and attention to detail are qualities necessary to produce a work of art, Agnes Denes has them all. Her encyclopedic simplifications and systemizations of everything from evolution to esthetics, from truth to traffic patterns, are occasionally so densely compacted that they seem fictional (her Dialectical Triangulations, for instance). At other times they are so open and simple they seem naive, like her x-rays of art works to “get at” the artist’s hidden meaning. The recent show at A.I.R. contained the results of a whole range of her investigations

  • Giovanni Anselmo

    Giovanni Anselmo’s exhibition consisted of several small gray framing projectors located within the large room at John Weber’s and a single, wall-sized photograph on canvas in the smaller gallery. The photograph shows the artist from an aerial view running away from the camera in a field of grass on which the figure is centered. Entitled Entering Into the Work, it is an obvious play on the Abstract Expressionist notion of being “in the work” which is half pun and half a misreading of the idea of Action Painting. The huge size of the canvas, of course, includes the viewer in the work too, which

  • Ronald Bladen

    Ronald Bladen occupies a sculptural position that is exactly opposite to that of Louise Nevelson. His work is holistic, fully threedimensional, and clean of surface. But the unbroken black skins of his pieces hide an Expressionist heart that his resolutely Minimal stance rarely permits us to see. His recent show of plywood prototypes and drawings, however, exposed this interior world in a small model for Coltrane, 1969, which bristled with aggressive nails and splinters of roughly cut plywood. Looking for all the world like a Piranesi prison, it is a maze of engineering complexity so dense it

  • Thomas Bang

    Thomas Bang’s repertory of small, floor-bound plaster block and wire coil sculptures has been augmented this year. The new works, also small in scale, are six wall pieces in wire and black rubber. They play similar kinds of competition, connection, and counting games with the viewer, but stress the flexibility of their materials and coloristically incorporate the whiteness of the wall in a pictorial way as well. Bang’s work explores interesting nonfigurative, nonarchitectural, and sculptural ideas. One is grateful for the lack of histrionics.

    ––April Kingsley

  • Alice Adams

    Alice Adams uses the same kinds of materials as Gordon Matta-Clark. She uses them traditionally, which makes for a nice contrast between her constructed sculptures and his “found” ones. Adams’ three freestanding works and one wall relief utilize plaster of Paris, wood and wire lath, all of which are practically obsolete building materials in our time of wallboard and exposed brick. She trowels her plaster onto the lath like stucco, giving it a rough texture. Sometimes the wood-lath slats are spaced as if for plastering; at other times she abuts them. In either case they have a sun-screen

  • Susan Smith

    Susan Smith also stresses the anonymity of her imagery. It derives from a very familiar urban sight: the vari-colored rectilinear grids of apartment interiors exposed by the removal of the building of which they once constituted a lateral wall. What is left is a sort of patchwork record of human habitation—the colors of moldings, paint, and wallpaper, the shapes of various pieces of furniture, of closets and stairways—the configurations that are shown in colors on Gordon Matta-Clark’s newsprint. Smith renders them in monochrome with a dusky softness, in pastel on foamcore or in oil on wood. In

  • Jannis Kounellis

    Jannis Kounellis confronts nature and the man-made. He makes this confrontation literal, incorporating both objects and performances. He confronts the kind of paradoxical fusion of real and manufactured that Magritte was particularly masterful at depicting. Kounellis’ Papagallo of 1969, the earliest work in the show, consists of a vertically oriented iron rectangle. The work outlines his esthetic position perfectly. It is an abstract “object”—gray, hard, and Minimal—to which the artist has bound a “natural” phenomenon—a richly colorful, cawing, bit of life. Each impinges on the other’s reality.

  • Mary Miss

    Although the work of Mary Miss has received some exposure over the past five years, it remains difficult to pigeonhole as to type. This is partly the result of her determination to steer clear of sculptural categories such as serial or modular or even antiform, and of journalistic designations concerning materials. She keeps shifting around, from wood (which she uses most consistently) through cardboard, chicken wire, rope, and metal to plastics (the least frequently utilized). But no matter what material she uses, she employs it as simply and truthfully as possible, stressing its natural

  • Sylvia Stone

    At the extreme end of the spectrum—as far away from naturalism as you can get—is the geometric abstraction of Sylvia Stone’s glassy green and smoky gray Plexiglas sculptures on view at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in Soho—Crystal Palace and Another Place. These works, plus two smaller pieces, demonstrate some of the problems presented by the contemporary need for “truth to materials.” Stone is working in a transparent material, but she seems to be caught in a dilemma between her love of Plexiglas for its own sake and the fact that she utilizes it to form solid, planar shapes which we are accustomed