Lois E. Nesbitt

  • Merrill Wagner

    Merrill Wagner uses unpromising materials—old blackboard slate, rusted metal beams—to investigate formal issues such as framing and spatial illusionism. Wagner manages to drag ragged, timeworn objects into the laboratory of abstract formalism without sterilizing them. Her work deals with time and decay, and all that those forces suggest in broader human and ecological terms.

    In these most recent works, slate surfaces are often scored with faint scribbles or lines that extend onto the walls themselves; elsewhere the artist covers areas of slate with chalk or enamel. But the core of the work is

  • “A Good Read: The Books as Metaphor”

    Art about books, artists’ books, and books by artists have been on display all over New York in the past year, from Anselm Kiefer’s charred and molten tomes at the Museum of Modern Art to the historical survey of avant-garde books at Franklin Furnace. “A Good Read,” an ambitious show of work by 32 contemporary artists, presented sculpture and graphic work made in, on, around, out of, or about books and reading in general.

    The best works appealed both to the eye and the mind: in Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasarde (A throw of the dice will never eliminate chance, ca. 1969), Marcel Broodthaers

  • Christian Marclay

    Christian Marclay structures his works around sly conceptual conceits, the only common denominator being that they all have something to do with sound. He uses various found objects and materials, most often records: an earlier sculpture installation at the Clocktower featured 850 records arrayed in a grid across the floor. Among the works in this show is 5 Cubes, 1989, in which Marclay forms melted and mashed record albums into cubes, recalling the transformation of car parts by John Chamberlain. A number of collages (all untitled 1988 and ’89) are made from old record covers, each based on

  • Avri Ohana

    In these landscapes Avri Ohana evokes subtle atmospheres of shimmering light, using gestures that have a sketchy energy. The Morocco-born, Israel-raised Ohana began as a figurative painter before turning to the semiabstract geometrical groupings seen here. He begins by applying wild sprays of acrylic paint onto canvas or paper. In Napa Valley (all works 1988), one square of the patchwork composition contains splattered, unblended paint, as if the artist intended to leave a visible trace of the process. Tiberia Kineret features an explosion of color hovering over a skyline of triangles and

  • Julio Galan

    Julio Galan’s spherical sculptures and large, complex paintings combine figures, landscapes, and still lifes, written and applied objects, exploiting all manner of visual and verbal language. Melodramatic self-portraits stand beside often ironic renderings of religious and political mythologies. Galan’s is a crowded world. His works are overloaded, dense, but also random; by including everything, he asserts no hierarchy of values. Galan, who has worked both in his native Mexico and in New York, seems to be functioning at a complex cultural crossroads, experiencing but not assimilating a wealth

  • Pietro Finelli

    In his recent wall pieces and freestanding sculptures, Italian artist Pietro Finelli reveals a new approach. His earlier works were grids of discrete images drawn or painted on folded brown paper. The images, which ranged from abstractions to figures and landscapes, were arranged in non-narrative sequences based on visual associations and personal memories. The work was conceptual without sacrificing a strong visual quality.

    While the title of this show, “Lost Watches,” implies a continued concern with time, memory, and autobiography, the new works suggest a decisive break with the past. In

  • Nancy Steinson

    Nancy Steinson’s sculptures consist of polygonal sheets of painted steel framing partially visible interior spaces. Germinus (all works 1988) folds around a single volume; the more elaborate metal origami of Gayan’s Passage twists along the ground like a ribbon, or a fallen, dismembered box kite. The harsh geometric forms are occasionally relieved by wavelike curves that snake along the work’s contours. Flat, irregularly shaped steel bases echo the shadows cast by the angled masses. Though the sculptures tend to tilt and lean precariously, as though top-heavy, they are for the most part narrow

  • Norman Lundin

    Norman Lundin paints interior scenes in muted shades of gray, recording patterns of light and shadow in a soft-focus realism. Certain of his interiors, with their cracked plaster walls and barren surfaces, convey the narrative pathos of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, but for the most part Lundin manages to create works that are solemn and austere without being maudlin. He combines doorframes and floorboards, a plain wooden table and a folding metal chair, old sketches and empty jars in compositions of studied stillness.

    Despite the seeming verisimilitude of these paintings, Lundin does not paint from

  • Michael De Jong

    In the works on display here, Michael De Jong takes reproductions of paintings from several periods, sometimes leaving them intact, sometimes cropping to focus on specific details, and burnishes them onto canvas so that they have the texture and appearance of real paintings. De Jong then covers the images with sheets of Plexiglas bolted onto the canvas and applies objects of everyday use onto these surfaces. Included here are reproductions of paintings by Goya, Manet, and Hopper, and objects ranging from rulers and flashlights to adhesive tape and air fresheners, all of whose shiny newness

  • Hannes Brunner

    Hannes Brunner manages to translate musical movement into static sculptural form. He creates casual groupings of paper-and-cardboard instruments that evoke sound unfettered by the constraints of orderly composition. Pausenstück (Intermission, 1988), the most powerful work in the show, is an entropic heap of paper keyboards, drums, wind instruments, guitars, and lyres, in parts and wholes, randomly strewn across folding chairs and loosely contained within a two-sided frame. The whole piece, from the layered curves of its almost cubist guitar to its leaping keyboards, suggests a musical jumble of

  • Jonathan Santlofer

    Jonathan Santlofer’s sculpted paintings, with their ruptured frames and projecting surfaces, are about breaking out of orderly confines, about opening up. At times, they resemble ruptured Georgia O’Keeffe paintings. The discontinuous compositions are composed of slices and wedges of painted canvas: Missed Kiss, 1988, is folded like a paper fan. Painted images are combined with real objects; in The Last Supper, 1988, a real table leg (itself painted over) projects out from the canvas, contrasting with an image of a table leg painted on one of the work’s surfaces. Stones, 1988, is an almost

  • Leonid Sokov

    In this show of recent paintings and sculptures, Russian émigré artist Leonid Sokov continues to view political and cultural figures as tokens of increasingly indistinguishable ideologies. Whether depicting Stalin, the Gorbachevs, Genghis Kahn, or Marilyn Monroe, Sokov renders his subjects in crude caricatures whose pronounced two-dimensionality is deliberately metaphoric. He attacks other symbols in his three-dimensional work. Upside Down Kremlin, 1988, consists of a column of wood with an outsized emblematic star for a base. (While still in Russia Sokov was a member of Sots Art, a group of