Critics’ Picks

View of “Interferencias” (Interferences), 2013.

Mexico City

Cécile Bart

Galería Desiré Saint Phalle
Colima 25A entre Cuauthémoc y Morelia, Col. Roma
April 9 - July 27

Cécile Bart’s “Interferencias” (Interferences) offers a seductive spin on post-painterly abstraction. For her first exhibition in Mexico City, the French artist presents a series of in situ wall paintings overlaid and interspersed with semitransparent paintings on metal stretchers. Framed between columns within the space, these four mural works consist of broad hard-edge bands of perfectly uninflected blue, yellow, orange, and mauve meeting and crossing at irregular angles and intervals.

If the slants of these bands of color were not sufficiently odd, their surfaces are complicated by the stretcher-based paintings, reminiscent of used silk screens and which bear similar cross-hatchings that hover in the center of the wall works. If we view them directly, the palimpsest-like conjunction of the two paintings creates a geometric imbrication of abstraction in which it is hard to say what frames what. Indeed, effectively interfering with and complementing one another, the two planes engender a scenario that is at once strangely harmonious and aggravating—a paradox that is also reflected in the warm creaminess of their coolly explosive palette. It is as if the elusive but palpable tension of these works has been sublimated into the paint’s strict, nonexpressive application and unusual spectrum. Ostensibly full of the so-called openness and clarity of Clement Greenberg’s post-painterly abstraction, Bart’s works nevertheless refuse to completely reveal themselves. They do so by being so taut with tension and by eschewing the mappable logic of Sol LeWitt’s wall paintings, their most immediate art-historical antecedent. It is precisely this virtuosic penchant for paradox that begins to account for and justify the voluptuous beauty of this exhibition.