Critics’ Picks

Deborah Remington, Essex, 1972, oil on canvas, 95 x 66".

Deborah Remington, Essex, 1972, oil on canvas, 95 x 66".


Deborah Remington

Weydingerstrasse 6
February 27–April 23, 2016

Deborah Remington’s paintings present open doorways floating as luminous portals into the gray abyss or hang like opaque, reflection-less mirrors. Her works recall science fiction with nods toward the dreamlike moods of Surrealism and the industrial weight of the machine age. Bringing together a selection of the artist’s paintings and drawings from the 1970s and 1980s, this exhibition reveals her fascination with layering hovering forms to otherworldly effect.

Having studied at the California School of Fine Arts in the 1950s under Clyfford Still, Remington followed a gestural, Abstract Expressionist approach. Though she was closely associated with San Francisco’s Beat generation during this period, it wasn’t until she moved to New York in the 1960s that her mature style flourished, producing unsettling, machinelike imagery offset by suggestions of heraldry and armor. In the large-scale painting Essex, 1972, a palette of dark grays and greens gently graduate to suggest a distant horizon. Shapes are layered around a central axis, outlined with vibrant streaks of scarlet red and electric blue in an indeterminate, shimmering landscape.

Her “Trace Series” drawings from 1978–80 are particularly compelling with their fracturing of forms and circular and square fragments suspended in blank white space. Black spray paint, pencil, and graphite crown these shapes with smudgy auras, as if they were distant planets or clouds drifting in another universe, waiting to be discovered.