Critics’ Picks

Waiting, 2003.

Waiting, 2003.


Amy Pleasant

Jeff Bailey Gallery
127 Warren Street
March 17–April 17, 2004

Amy Pleasant’s paintings are laid out in grids which collectively hint at angst-ridden narratives. Uncoiling, 2002, is a nocturnal-gray canvas whose abstract vignettes involve light-filled doorways and people lying curled up in the dark. Waiting, 2003, is even more pared down; figures separated by inches of beige canvas stare out windows into blank space. And In the Back of a Car, 2003, features shapes and weird blobs that hover between entangled couples, like physical manifestations of blotted-out memories (all that embarrassed backseat fumbling you so want to forget). The gallery statement likens Pleasant’s work to Egyptian tomb paintings or movie storyboards. But they look more like early Sue Williams paintings—the vitriolic feminist ones—or comics whose narrative core has disintegrated, leaving behind only the shame, fear, or desire that instigated them in the first place.