Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

  • Brice Marden, David Novros and Kes Zapkus

    Brice Marden’s recent drawings are delicate, brilliant, and central to one of the most pressing problems with which serious painting is currently concerned: the problem of working with a pictorial space that doesn’t deny its function as a subdivision of real space. Marden uses drawing (line) exclusively as a subdivider of the rectangle that continually refers to the dimensions and proportions of the original format. Line, in these drawings of Marden’s, is the means for an intuitive procedure that amounts to a constant revision of the pictorial space. Linear accumulation transforms the space,

  • Ed Moses

    Ed Moses is now painting diagonal stripes on laminated tissue paper in a way that equates the surface—pigment and rhoplex—with its support; the paper is about as thick as the painted skin it bears. Fragility, one of the most immediately apparent properties of such a work as Coyote, 1973–74, is as much a physical condition of the piece as it’s a feature attributed to it by color or line.

    The physical fragility of these works seems important because of, not despite, their involvement with the terminology of ’60s modernism. Specifically, they refer to Morris Louis and to the recent work of Frank

  • Giulio Paolini

    Giulio Paolini’s work is of various kinds: literalist drawings with the middles torn out and other permutations of the same idea; a drawing made of graph paper with a hand holding a pen superimposed on it and made out of the same kind of paper; a self-portrait the title of which named objects—a bust of Heraclitus among them—the painting was said to contain but didn’t. The common theme can only be Paolini, whose privileged subjectivity seems meant to unite the disparate elements of physical perception and associated meaning he presents. The most elaborate work in the show confirms this. It consists

  • Roberta Allen and Roman Opalka

    Roberta Allen showed work of two sorts. Strips of canvas arranged on rollers, in groups, partially rolled and partially unrolled and labeled according to the length exposed. And groups of vertical lines on gridded paper—one line to a square—labeled as arrows without heads denoted as pointing up in some pictures and down in others. The theme of partial concealment also enters into some of these drawings. Allen is impressive because of the variety she gets out of this simple idea, and this variety—the large number of different kinds of work she’s able to make with it—indicates the depth of its

  • Lucio Fontana

    At a time when a reinterpretation of Abstract Expressionism seems both necessary and feasible, it’s especially good to have access to previously unexhibited work by Lucio Fontana, whose career in some ways paralleled that of postwar American painting. Rosalind Krauss has indicated that what needs to be considered is Abstract Expressionism’s internalization of the Surrealist idea of “content.” I’d extrapolate that what’s in question is the extent to which the Americans retained Surrealism’s preoccupation with the erotic as a subversion of the erotic. A well-known reading—William Rubin’s—seems to

  • Cecile Abish, James Reineking, and Stuart Shedletsky

    Painting, photography, and sculpture seem—at the moment—to be mutually informative in a special way, Painting and sculpture continue to be immersed in that concern with material documentation stimulating of the most advanced work in these disciplines for the past decade. Such concerns address themselves to a spatial and temporal distortion that is physically engendered, rather than being a function of a conceptually abstract presentation of structure. Photography is, after all, a feature of industrialism that has altered the ordinary associations of “documentation” itself, in its provision of

  • Duane Hansen

    An example of such a contrast is readily at hand, if one compares Pearlstein’s Two Female Models with Drawing Table with an example from Duane Hansen’s recent show, Derelict Woman, 1973–74. Both works—to refer to Tillim once more—seem equally necrophilic and prophylactic. A picture, larger than human scale, made out of oil paint and canvas, and showing two figures and some of the apparatus of traditional art; painted with a fairly small brush and presenting an illusion of depth essentially through a Renaissance technology. A sculpture, exactly the same size as its subject, colored and dressed,

  • Philip Pearlstein

    Philip Pearlstein continues to paint large life paintings—and, now, some landscapes too—that rely on cropping, a shallow space, and the precedence of drawing over color. Reflected light intrudes only as a last resort, to make possible a complicated transition that’s got to take place in a restricted space. In—for example—Two Female Models with Drawing Table, 1973, color plays an important role only twice. In the seated figure, reflected light is used to bracket the transition from the side of her torso that’s cast into shadow by her right arm to the visible part of her left calf, which is close

  • Richard McDermott Miller

    Which isn’t the case with Richard McDermott Miller, around whose work there hangs on air of nostalgia for, mostly, the representational heroicism that lost its nerve quite early on in the development of the modern bourgeois state. His larger pieces suffer, I think, from a kind of chunkiness that suggests discomfort—on his part—with the larger than life scale. The smaller pieces—which abandon nostalgia for the heroic and substitute for it a view of classicism that comes from a later stage in the 19th century, and which is more modest and naturalistic in its emphasis—seem to me not to have this

  • Barry Flanagan

    Barry Flanagan—like Shedletsky—tends to use dates for titles. And, also like Shedletsky and others, his interest nowadays seems to be in a comparably autobiographical—in his case via the exploitation of the iconographic—use of material signification. Most of the work in his show at the Modern was hung on the wall, different shapes—mostly made of canvas of various kinds—that overlap one another and are fastened at the top to a common pole. Sometimes the pieces of canvas are painted, and sometimes they’re not. The worst piece of work in the show consists of a cage with bits of canvas trapped

  • Terry Fugate-Wilcox

    Terry Fugate-Wilcox makes sculpture that consists of packaging scientific—chiefly mineralogical—fact. His show was in three parts: works changed by the environment—by temperature, humidity, etc.; works in which diffusion is taking place, as in the sculpture made out of strips of aluminum and carbon bolted together, where the proximity of the two metals assures that electron migration between them is taking place—with consequences that will be clearly apparent to the naked eye in about 3,000 years; and works which are being eaten away by the atmosphere, which are referred to as “burning” pieces.

  • Michael Steiner

    From my point of view Michael Steiner’s achievement—like, in this respect, Fugate-Wilcox’s—is predicated on a dubious involvement with the question of the work as a commodity. But in his case this is a consequence of an overt, artistic choice which—because of the support system in the world at large, that is, for reasons that are only partially artistic, attendant on his making this choice—happens to locate Steiner in a milieu that I regard as compromised, rather than a refusal to engage in dialogue at all while using a common set of terms. Which is what, in the case of Fugate-Wilcox, drives