Ronny Cohen

  • James Winn

    James Winn is an artist with a mission: to create a paradisiacal vision of nature. Taking as his focus the Midwest farm belt with its endless cultivated acres topped by broad swatches of sky, he has captured the spiritual side of the outdoors. In a sense, he is pushing the American tradition of transcendental landscape painting, associated with such 19th-century luminaries as George Inness and John Frederick Kensett, into a contemporary arena.

    Working in acrylic on paper, Winn has developed a style as rich in detail as it is suffused with feeling. He has managed to be meticulously convincing

  • Nancy Azara

    The old question of whether the artist is the one who chooses the subject or the subject the artist is raised anew in Nancy Azara’s show. For Azara, the “eternal feminine” has long been a preoccupation, and, in her work, this most elusive figure has found a gifted contemporary interpreter. Eschewing literary representation, she renders this subject abstractly, employing rich physical properties and imagistic associations to suggest her various aspects and guises.

    This group of carved, painted, and gold-leafed reliefs brings to mind sacred objects used to celebrate the “goddess” in both Western

  • Julio Larraz

    While there are certain subjects, from Latin American dictators to still-life-like interiors, that recur in Julio Larraz’s paintings, he has long been known for the refreshingly expansive range of thematic concerns he has cultivated.

    Several paintings from earlier shows that continue to linger in my memory include Four Lobsters in a Tub, 1984, a fabulous red picture made eerily poignant by a single claw that peeks over the side of an enormous pot; Mayday, 1987, a symbolic figurative composition featuring an elderly blond woman, in a big black-rimmed sun hat, standing with a group of military men

  • Jane Wilson

    Jane Wilson grew up in the heart of the Midwest farm belt, and, for her, nature has long been a subject suffused with meaning. After a requisite stint painting in an Abstract Expressionist style during the ’50s, she turned to gestural landscapes in the early ’60s; she has subsequently developed the genre into a personal vehicle of investigation, exploring the complex correspondences between form and feeling. This show of truly sublime landscape paintings will undoubtedly enhance Wilson’s already fine reputation.

    American Light, 1991—a powerful work bringing together the objective face and inner

  • Duncan Hannah

    Eschewing the predictability that comes with tying one’s career to any one set of issues, Duncan Hannah has indefatigably pursued his personal vision. While he has been discussed under any number of handy tags—neo-Romanticism, neo-Surrealism, and, of course, post-Modernism—in truth these designations say very little about of his work.

    A realist who has managed to marry the linear and painterly modes of description in a distinctive style, Hannah is a genuine believer in the redemptive powers of the visual image to illuminate life. Like the paintings of Edward Hopper and Amedeo Modigliani (to pick

  • Michael Peglau

    In his new paintings, Michael Peglau does something fascinating with the figure in landscape, a subject too often employed in the service of banal expression, by critiquing a number of impulses symbolic, narrative, and voyeuristic—that this subject has traditionally served. Peglau animates his archetypal Western sites with sensuous paint handling, rich color, and radiant light effects. Instead of simply providing contemplative images of nature’s beauties, however, he takes a more provocative tack, using the land-scape as a setting for situations fraught with tensions and potential dangers. This

  • Valentina Dubasky

    Without the slightest hint of overt pedagogy, Valentina DuBasky—an artist known for her evocative magical realist style featuring totemic animal images and lushly colored surfaces—has succeeded in conveying the critical need to preserve the tenuous ecological balances that guarantee the survival of life. Consider the collagelike structure that serves to bind content and form in paintings such as Rainforest, 1990, Indonesia, 1990, Nature and T Cells, 1991, and Blue Meander, 1991. Recalling ancient Egyptian painting as well as Persian manuscripts, the organization into flat interlocking sections

  • Marlene Tseng Yu

    Marlene Tseng Yu has deftly avoided the common pitfalls besetting many late-20th-century painters interested in natural beauty; she has managed to avoid the trite and tired, the conventional and formulaic depiction, and has stayed amazingly free of clichéd sentimentality. What she puts forth, instead, is a thoroughly contemporary image of nature that combines painterly and graphic values with objective and fantastic overtures. That is to say, Tseng Yu has forged an original style that conveys the spirit of nature, by working on the borderline between representation and abstraction. With her

  • Bernarda Bryson Shahn

    This well-rounded retrospective of Bernarda Bryson Shahn’s work highlighted the range of her accomplishments, including prints, drawings, illustrations, and paintings. Beginning with Crash, a lithograph from 1929 depicting two buildings in the throes of upheaval, which might be taken as a metaphorical comment on the Depression, the show covered more than six decades of work. Whether Bryson Shahn depicted snippets of contemporary American life or ancient myths, the results were characteristically wry and thought provoking.

    For this artist, the worlds of art and literature are as inextricably bound

  • Medrie MacPhee

    Focusing on the industrial machinery that provided the base on which the economic wealth of North America was originally built, Medrie MacPhee’s recent show succeeded in breathing fresh life into that well-worn 20th-century theme—the relationship of man and machine.

    The more service-oriented societies such as the United States become, the more curiously exotic common devices such as pipes, tanks, conduits, conveyers, and containing walls seem; MacPhee’s approach to her subject, which is part objective—mindful of appearances and functions—and part romantic, plays this quality up.

    The harbor

  • Mary Hambleton

    Mary Hambleton continues to explore the affective potential of abstraction. As one of the talented group of American painters who have been largely responsible for reviving interest in the symbolic possibilities of abstraction, Hambleton has developed a striking pictorial language that reveals abstraction’s capacity for conveying both interior emotions and physical sensations.

    For Hambleton, painting is a window onto the profounder orders of experience; in other words, for her, painting seems to function as an effective vehicle for the mind’s eye, allowing it to attain and to hold fundamental

  • Nell Blaine

    Nell Blaine’s recent still lifes and landscapes come at you like some enchanting refrain. They reverberate as if with the theme of a paean in praise of painting, proposing a harmony between art and life. What has enabled Blaine to achieve this in her oils and watercolors is the very personal path she has navigated between two of the major factions of 20th-century art. Blaine studied with Hans Hofmann in the mid ’40s, was fascinated by Piet Mondrian, and was a member of the collective American Abstract Artists. By the late ’50s, however, she turned toward the world of appearances with a fresh

  • Cheryl Laemmle

    The term magical realism has special relevance with respect to the painting of Cheryl Laemmle. Since the early ’80s she has gained respect for her ability to conjure a wondrous realm characterized by psychologically charged atmospheres and filled with fantastic forms. In this show, Laemmle has succeeded in raising the expressive ante by heightening the imaginative intensity of her enigmatic representations.

    The motif of the wooden animal has long been a trademark of Laemmle’s, and here, in Dog With Hand (all works 1990), a hound’s head is displayed mounted on a short red base that suggests a

  • Leigh Behnke

    In the oils and watercolors featured in this show, New York artist Leigh Behnke offers provocative investigations of the relationship of seeing and knowing. Employing multiple formats that recall the structure of Renaissance predella panels, she launches a sophisticated assault on the conventions of seeing underlying the pictorial illusionism. Behnke invites us to consider the notion of three dimensionality, supported by the familiar system of fixed perspective and cast light and shadow, as the veritable cornerstone of the Western representational tradition. Her paintings of interiors, suburban

  • Menashe Kadishman

    Working with cutout forms—an approach that has attracted talents as diverse as Julio González, Henri Matisse, and Alexander Calder—veteran Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman employs the Modernist idea of sculpture as drawing in space.

    The cutout brings together Kadishman’s interests in the mediums of sculpture, drawing, and painting. Cutting and bending thin sheets of steel into fantastic human and animal forms, he creates small-scale compositions characterized by his signature expressionistic style in which boldly simplified anatomies and gestural contours are strikingly pictorial. A consummate

  • Kim Do

    Kim Do, who works with the Hudson River literally in his backyard, has succeeded in turning the metaphysically toned objective style of landscape painting made famous by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and Martin Johnson Heade to his own ends. Taking the winding creeks, mountainous terrains, and woods of upstate New York as his inspirations, he gives this “archetypal” picturesque scenery an intriguing contemporary twist, presenting icons that are at once emblematic of the awesome character of nature and problematic with regard to the idea of landscape as a form of symbolic representation.

    In other

  • Ellen Phelan

    Ellen Phelan demystifies 19th-century landscape painting, not so much by deconstructing the myths that sustain it as by demonstrating anew how the impulse to record nature is inextricably bound up with the need to project personal states of mind onto the objective face of reality. Like Joseph Mallord, William Turner, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Phelan seems to value the direct experience of landscape as well as its imaginative treatment. This can be gleaned from her approach, which is simultaneously meditative and analytical. Beginning in the time-honored plein-air tradition by seeking out

  • Wifredo Lam

    This exhibition covered four decades in the career of Cuban-born Surrealist Wifredo Lam, and throughout the show the spiritual primitivism that animated much of 20th-century Modernism was strongly in evidence.

    Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1937, Lam, who had been working in Spain, sought safety in Paris. There he became a protégé of Picasso, who introduced him to the avant-garde artists and writers then dominating the intellectual life of that city. Before he returned to Havana in 1941, Lam met André Breton and joined the Surrealists, yet Picasso seems to have remained the

  • Joan Brady

    This show marked Joan Brady’s debut as an oil painter. For more than two decades, she has been known as an extremely talented watercolorist, working in a relaxed realist vein that admits detail, without becoming tight or overly meticulous. Brady has developed a distinctive watercolor style that brings out essential shapes and masses through a tonal application of color. In the oil canvases, which she initiated after her previous solo show in 1987, Brady has in some respects adhered to the basics of her approach in watercolor, yet she also seems to have engaged the special physical character of

  • Vladimir German

    For Vladimir German, a painter who left the Soviet Union in 1981 and now resides in New York, painting is an occasion for reconstituting the world of appearances in terms of a series of discrete impressions animated with glowing color.

    In this show German focused on bodies of water, a subject he has treated frequently in recent years, revealing, once again, his interest in multipanel formats. In Far Rockaway Seascape—Ocean, 1982–90, a central image depicting rolling waves and cloudy mists, is surrounded by side panels used to elaborate various aqueous effects; each frame focused on a different