Ronny Cohen

  • 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

  • “Women in Mexico”

    Though this ground-breaking survey of women artists active in Mexico during this century was organized by art-historian Edward Sullivan around theoretical issues of gender, identity, and nationalism, the work assembled offers, first and foremost, a riveting esthetic experience.

    The 22 women featured spanned several generations, ranging from photographer Tina Modotti who was born in 1896 to Laura Anderson, a 32-year-old artist from Mexico City. Though many of the women were born in Mexico—painters Frida Kahlo and Maria Izquierdo and photographer Lola Alvarez Bravo among them—others, such as Remedios

  • Mark Schwartz

    The canvases Mark Schwartz exhibited here hover captivatingly between abstraction and landscape; for him issues of pure painting and the varied phenomena of nature are equally worthy of investigation. Working in a broad, gestural manner, Schwartz imbues the thick and tactile surfaces of his canvases with a primal energy in keeping with the elemental imagery he favors.

    One painting (all works untitled, 1990) clearly reflects these dual concerns. At first glance the work appears to be about the interrelationship of surface, form, and space, yet the more closely the white edges of the semicircle

  • Lynda Benglis

    Since the early ’70s, Lynda Benglis has worked in the area between fine art and industry, and, in the process, she has done much to erase the boundaries that once separated painting and sculpture.

    While relief work enjoyed a modest heyday in the early part of the century, first with Picasso and then with selective members of the Russian avant-garde including Ivan Puni, Vladimir Tatlin, and El Lissitsky, this way of working was not widely investigated in the contemporary context until Benglis reintroduced it with her breakthrough series, “Totems,” 1971–72.

    Throughout the ’70s Benglis continued to

  • Lenore Tawney

    Lenore Tawney is one of those rare innovators who, through the powerful example of her own work, helped to open up an entire field. As this long overdue retrospective demonstrates, contemporary fiber art received a giant boost when Tawney introduced her revolutionary woven forms in the early ’60s and set the craft on the ambitious esthetic track that still characterizes the field’s most enlightened corners today.

    Tawney’s woven forms can be as sublime as a Mark Rothko, as meditative as an Agnes Martin, and as life enhancing as a Henry Moore. Tawney transcended the limitations of the craft by

  • Michael Kessler

    For Michael Kessler, painting is both a symbolic expression and an affirmation of self. Since the early ’80s nature has served as a source for his organic abstract vocabulary.The paintings in this recent show reveal a striking new clarity of vision. Working in a large vertical format on wooden supports, Kessler has succeeded in breathing a refreshing vitality into his images. The associations with landscape elements so prominent in the early work have become part of a broader visual vocabulary touching on complex visceral and psychological concerns. This was as much the case for Helix Patriarch

  • Susan Crile

    In her recent show veteran abstractionist Susan Crile has revealed a side of her vision that was never adequately accommodated by the formal and objective currents that dominated her work during the ’70s and most of the ’80s. She has left the sphere of abstraction bound by the Hard-Edge mind-set and created a universe of plastic invention teeming with feelings and strong physical sensations, where the only boundaries are those imposed by lack of passion.

    Paintings like Shifting Shifter, 1989, Soft, Wild & Naked, 1989, Pulse Beat, 1990, Erotic Containment, 1990, and Radiant Object, 1990, reveal

  • Harrison Burns

    Harrison Burns has succeeded in breathing fresh life into the tradition-bound genre of flower painting. While it was indeed possible to consider the examples shown here as simple still-life genre paintings, they are more than merely decorative. For all their electrifying colors and sensual good looks, these are intellectually rigorous pictures that bring together visuals and ideas in endlessly fascinating combinations.

    The likenesses of the individual flowers and the vases and bowls in which they are contained lit up the surface with an intense spectral glow. For example, in Tulips 3, 1990, by

  • Brian Yoshimi Isobe

    Minimalism provides the precedent for Brian Groombridge’s most recent sculpture entitled Within One Action There Are Many Gestures, 1990. Here Groombridge has arrived at a synthesis of form that reduces the superfluous to the necessary and immediate. Using a stainless steel I beam which projects 20 feet into the air, the artist has fixed a rod halfway up that holds two carpenter’s set squares welded together to form a rectangle. The work echoes its downtown Toronto setting that is dominated by a construction frenzy and the verticality of skyscrapers.

    Groombridge’s piece is a simple configuration