Critics’ Picks

Anita Leisz, Untitled, 2017, aluminum, 48 1/2 x 40 1/4 x 1 3/4".


Anita Leisz

Norma Mangione Gallery
Via Matteo Pescatore 17
November 5 - December 23

Anita Leisz’s work by turns evokes a visual unity and highlights the nature of its construction from disparate elements. One piece, composed of two galvanized-iron cylinders (all works Untitled and 2017), is the only on view that clearly brings to mind a three-dimensional structure. The other six works are simultaneously paintings and sculptures. Hung from the walls, they possess a mutable-seeming depth that complicates their status as paintings, even though their presentation encourages categorization as such. One wood, gypsum, and fiberboard piece, for example, is five inches thick. Another ambiguity emerges from the nature of the abstraction to which the artist resorts. Her language refers to the realm of minimalism: essentialism, formal reduction, geometry. She uses materials such as gypsum fiberboard that overtly evoke construction, as well as iron, tin, and wax. The vertical line down the center of one piece is formed by rebar of sorts, grafted onto the fiberboard panel. With their industrial aesthetic, Leisz’s works can seem like building fragments that have lost their structural function, becoming pure abstract forms. Their cryptic ambivalence resides in an oscillation between stark abstraction and a suggestion of lived-in spaces. On close examination, it becomes clear that the surfaces have been marked and worked over, as if time has incised histories into them. The apparent coldness of Leisz’s work is a deception and an enigma.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.