Critics’ Picks

Caro Niederer, Steinmenschen (Stone Figures), 2012, oil on canvas, 102 3/8 x 68 7/8”.

New York

Caro Niederer

Hauser & Wirth | East 69th Street
32 East 69th Street
June 27–July 27

The popping fuchsias, marigold yellows, and burnt reds that percuss through Caro Niederer’s latest canvases create a rhythm of coherence across wildly diverse subject matter, bouncing across dinner tables, penetrating through sex, and landing lightly on fields and beaches. To achieve this color repetition in her paintings, Niederer typically lines up a row of canvases in her studio and paints them simultaneously, from the same palette. Niederer is so dedicated to the pervasiveness of her hues that for this solo exhibition she sent cans of bright pink house paint to the gallery: Work from her “Kama Sutra” series, 1993–2012, is currently on display in an aggressively fuchsia room.

The evolution of Niederer’s colors and stylistic choices is very clear in this exhibition, which showcases over two decades of her work. The real standouts, however, were all painted in the past year or two. Basketball, 2012, which is based on a picture of one of Niederer’s daughter’s basketball games, is a hot-pink plane of dark lines and weightless objects: A lopsided, cross-hatched basketball wobbles in midair; a disembodied hoop floats behind. The players appear weightless, mere ornament to the aggressive surface tension of the court. The same pinks can be seen drenching summer picnickers in Picknick (Picnic), 2012, beating down on them as they fade into hot space and air. Contrasting beautifully against these warmer worlds are some equally gripping cooler, sparser offerings: In Steinmenschen (Stone Figures), 2012, a bare tree’s branches crisscross a dusty turquoise sky, vastly overshadowing a small cluster of warm yellow stone figures far behind. In each painting—hot, cold, large, or small—we find our own space, our own sense of wonder, our own ability to walk inside and exist amid such splendor. Niederer’s colors keep us there.