Critics’ Picks

Tingling Couple 5, 2003.

Tingling Couple 5, 2003.

New York

Barnaby Furnas

Marianne Boesky Gallery | 509 West 24th Street
509 West 24th Street
September 6–October 4, 2003

In his recent watercolors, Barnaby Furnas continues to engage the eternal topoi of love, war, destruction, and ecstasy while exploring the paradigmatic dichotomies of modernist painting (figure and ground, figuration and abstraction). Furnas executes these investigations viscerally and joyfully, synthesizing a number of graphic influences ranging from nineteenth-century history painting to Carroll Dunham and contemporary cinema. His palette is bright and jewel-toned, verging on neon, giving the smaller pictures the look of mosaics or icons. The adrenaline-filled images of suicides, battles, and lovemaking present actions and their consequences simultaneously—just as, in the act of painting, a mark-making gesture is usually contemporaneous with its result. Watercolor, of course, is notoriously unpredictable, at once wayward and precise. Furnas’s paintings seem charged by the double-edged nature of his medium, physically evoking the opposition of impulse and order.