Eileen Neff

  • William Larson

    William Larson began his distinguished career as a photographer in the late ’60s, when he first identified his interests in the technology of the medium and its conventions of representation. His largely conceptual work is characterized by a sense of experiment as well as an exquisite formalist approach, both due, perhaps, to a certain freedom and aesthetic derived from his training as a painter. It’s not difficult to see in retrospect how his ongoing commitment to the language of still imagery anticipated an exploration of the moving image: From his earliest sequential photographic series to

  • Virgil Marti

    Even in this nineteenth-century museum/school, architecturally idiosyncratic by any standard, the first arch-framed glimpse of Virgil Marti’s installation caused a visceral jolt that only intensified as one approached. Marti had transformed the exhibition space with fluorescent wallpaper of his own design, which glowed in the gallery under black light. The fill, as the main panels are called, repeated a large composite image of a range of landscape icons, from palm trees to Rocky Mountain waterfalls; the scene announced the kind of botanical anomalies Marti finds in the recollected landscapes

  • Buy Shaver

    THE EXPANSIVE ABSTRACT PAINTINGS in Buy Shaver's recent show display varied theoretical strategies: Some are absorbed in purely perceptual investigations, while others give a quick nod to formalism before heading off into the territory of ambiguity and metaphor. Among the conventionally strict examples is B.T.M.A.O. (White Square), 1998, a small canvas consisting of enameled rectangles of color in a lateral, bannerlike rhythm interrupted by a single insistent white square. A more animated perceptual jolt is caused by Red Flag, 2000, in which four distinct sections of gridded black and red meet

  • Tristin Lowe/Richard Harrod

    After a year of presenting some of the more engaging shows in Philadelphia, artists Richard Harrod and Tristin Lowe’s Blohard Gallery recently closed. What distinguished Blohard from the start was the simple but remarkable idea of only showing artists from other cities, particularly New York. For local artists, who both benefit and suffer from their proximity to New York, this arrangement extended their possibilities of seeing and being seen. Such was the vision of Harrod and Lowe, and something of the shared sensibility that allowed them to sustain Blohard for a year is apparent in their parting

  • Thomas Chimes

    In a long horizontal line extending through the gallery, the faces of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century artistic and intellectual avant-garde—Arthur Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Oscar Wilde, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Jarry—stared out at the contemporary visitor. With this remarkable set of small portraits, Thomas Chimes aligned himself with the great champions of the imagination, the writers, artists, and philosophers whose life and work embraced the unconscious and illuminated a kind of freedom from the cultural values of their historical moment. Shown here in the

  • Amy Hauft

    In her installation Period Room, 1998, Amy Hauft challenged expectations about site-specific works and their architectural moorings. Laid out in a formal grid, a waist-high horizontal plane of caned plywood frames filled the entire space except for a narrow winding walkway branching off in three short paths. Each led to a caned chair, handcrafted by the artist. By contrast to the museum period rooms referenced in the work’s title, the viewer became a participant whose passage was regulated through the piece. It somehow felt natural to raise your arms while negotiating the paths to the chairs,

  • Susan Hiller

    Born in this country but a resident of England since 1967, Susan Hiller is better known abroad, and “Wild Talents,” comprising a group of installations, was her first solo museum exhibition here. Much of Hiller’s work invokes a Conceptual strategy of the ’70s in which collections (of objects or images) and their display are critical components used to create a certain cool look and to emphasize the art’s conditional, mediated status. Though Hiller plays down her early training as an anthropologist, the collecting methodology that informs her work both overlaps this Conceptual stance and demonstrates

  • Roman Signer

    Forgoing his signature explosions, Roman Signer opened his recent exhibition (part of the Moore International Discovery Series, which features artists whose reputations were established largely outside the United States) with a brief “action.” With the help of his pilot Armin Caspari, he used the downwind from a small (five-foot-long) battery-operated helicopter to force a large empty mental drum from one gallery space into another. The event was characteristic of many of Signer’s actions, in which natural forces provoke and alter ordinary objects or materials in simple yet dynamic ways, creating,

  • Sarah McEneaney

    Sarah McEneaney’s paintings are enlivened by the contradietory effects produced when romantic sensibility meets realist painting. At once obsessively observant and psychologically loaded, her autobiographical works celebrate both the power of the imagination and the particulars of McEneaney’s own life. The paintings’ apparent subjects include landscapes viewed on recent trips, but her richest investigations mine the familiar spaces of her home and studio. She pictures herself alone, often lying down, asleep or reading, or just staring at the ceiling. Though her dog or cat sometimes appear, these

  • Jeanne Silverthorne

    Jeanne Silverthorne’s installation was a meditation on the artist’s studio, providing a point of entry to a body of work that resonates in surprising ways. Her strategy of blowing up the small plaster fragments that are the material residue of the casting process and transforming them into large black rubber sculptures evokes the nature of the contemporary artist’s role: the need to search for new visual forms when so many have already been exhausted. Her investigation of the sculptural process through its leftovers lends an ironic cast to the persistence of artistic practice and the still

  • Rebecca Johnson

    Echoing natural forms and materials, Rebecca Johnson’s most recent sculptures range widely in scale and their degree of complexity. To produce these works, Johnson carves many varieties of wood and stone, which she occasionally combines with cement reinforced with fiberglass, and sometimes paints or charrs. The pieces in which the natural materials underwent the fewest transformations were the most rewarding.

    The water or moss used in two of the smallest works lends them a kind of organicism. Dream Pool, 1995, a marble sculpture shaped like a pillow, in which a hollow resembling the imprint left

  • Tom Judd

    Though they look back to the tradition of 19th-century American landscape painting, Tom Judd’s recent paintings also reaffirm what is fundamental to their own iconography. In his earlier works, the landscape is an open field in which a lone figure might sit on a sofa or appear statuelike on a pedestal, and is as likely to be found surrounded by potted house plants as by trees. In this interiorized exterior, it was the “modern idiom” (the title of a 1981 painting) that Judd was exploring, and his primary sources were the magazine advertisements of the ’50s—the decade of his early childhood. His

  • Hilary Harp

    Part of “The Challenge Exhibitions” (a series of juried shows inaugurated in 1978 that provides young artists with the opportunity to show their work), Hilary Harp’s exhibition of interactive sculptures owed as much to a childlike fascination with Americana as to the punning spirit of Marcel Duchamp. Taking Duchamp’s precept that the observer must complete the work of art literally, these ultimately metaphysical constructions require the viewer’s physical interaction. Sunrise, 1994—a miniature, stagelike landscape—hung from the wall, against which a translucent paper sun rose and fell as the

  • Keith Ragone

    While Keith Ragone may position himself outside the ongoing conversation about whether painting is alive or dead, witnessing the obvious attachment of the artist to his practice, one wonders whether these nostalgic images are enlightened gestures or stunning anachronisms. Ragone’s paintings are not inventions that speak of this moment, nor do they reinvent, in a customary way, a moment from the past; there is no irony, no real distance in his investigation. Though traces of the explorations of artists such as Willem de Kooning, Hans Hoffmann, and Arshile Gorky linger in Ragone’s works, he seems

  • Stuart Netsky

    In a series of black and white photographs, “What Should I Wear?,” 1993, Stuart Netsky changes his pose as often as his dress, creating coy, honest, then decidedly camp self-portraits. It was as if the artist were watching us watching him press against the cultural boundaries of gender identity. Seen before the installation, Time Flies, 1993, the portraits served as a prelude to the extended dialogue of that piece.

    The installation was like a bizarre salon, museumlike in its considered arrangements, but illumined by a garish, violet glare borrowed from after-hours clubs. Unfolding around a large

  • A. P. Gorny

    A. P. Gorny opened this show with an extended performance that served as a frame for his highly textured conflation of event and image, one composed of layers of art-historical, religious, and deeply personal iconographies. “If You Only Knew” had an academic beginning: an artist’s conversation in a lecture hall on the college campus, which came to an abrupt halt when a drummer beckoned Gorny out of the building and down a long hill to the exhibition site. The audience followed. Outside of the gallery, a few of Gorny’s students fed a bright fire from a pile of his drawings. The light and warmth

  • Susan Fenton

    This recent exhibition of Susan Fenton’s painted photographs presented two bodies of work, one produced in France and one in Japan, where the artist is now living. Place has always been a factor in Fenton’s work, a subtext that underlies the immediately apparent subject matter and marks the extent of her experience in foreign places. The artist’s first important work evolved while she was living in Rome—the city became a source for the ritualized, ceremonial attitudes of her figures and the objects that accompany them.

    Fenton’s general practice consists first of a highly controlled studio

  • Terry Fox

    Terry Fox was chosen as the first artist of the Moore International Discovery Series, a biennial exhibition planned for the next 20 years to feature artists given little exposure in this country. The first major exhibition in the United States of Fox’s work since 1973, “‘Articulations’ (Labyrinth/Text Works)” was a welcome reintroduction to an artist whose reputation was established underground in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Referred to as actions or demonstrations, his work was characterized by a ritualized, elemental force: the artist fasted and attempted levitation; bread, rose, and fish

  • Richard Torchia

    Through his use of lenses, Richard Torchia explores the history of perceptual systems,simultaneously confirming the pleasures of the experiential moment and drawing on the tradition of the camera obscura. In two earlier installations, Torchia invited the viewer into the “dark room” where he placed lenses in an exterior wall to reveal the world outside in a dizzying (in)version of reality. His recent, site-specific installation, Birds of the Commonwealth, A Peepshow, 1992, reflected a new level of control over the world his lenses might illuminate—here, Torchia included references to trompe l’oeil

  • Bill Walton

    A contradictory relationship to a Minimalist esthetic creates both visual tension and much that is poetically demanding in Bill Walton’s new work. In an exhibition entitled “Letters, Memos,” 13 pieces were divided into two rooms, each offering a different perspective on installation art, and a variation on ways of recording and communicating fragments of experience. The viewer’s response to the objects, apparently simple geometric forms, was partly determined by the physical aspects of the installation. Individually, the piece tracked the relationship between memory and experience; collectively,