Critics’ Picks

Igor Hosnedl, I open into dark, 2018, handmade pigments in glue on canvas, 53 1/2 x 35 1/2".

New York

Igor Hosnedl

Downs & Ross
96 Bowery 2nd floor
June 20 - August 3

Painter Igor Hosnedl’s “The Opening of the Wells” takes its name from a 1955 chamber cantata by the composer Bohuslav Martinů. The composition celebrates the magical flourishing of spring throughout the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands of Czechia. Here, the Czech-born Hosnedl also embraces the season’s sensuousness and grand, mystical dimensions.

In Emerald Twilight (all works 2018), one of five canvases on view, primavera has blossomed. A silhouette of a nude female figure reclines into a curtain of lush, leafy greenery. The scene is intoxicating—the picture’s rich absinthe hues seduce the psyche. From under the woman’s arm, thick locks of hair appear to sway, perhaps from a light breeze, while at her feet an unspoiled fruit casts a long and beautiful shadow. In the distance, a shallow body of water, rendered in shades of marigold and cornflower, is the recipient of some fleeting warmth from a setting sun.

Pagan iconography can be found everywhere in Hosnedl’s show. In I open into dark, daylight disappears into serene darkness. Beneath the yellow sliver of a crescent moon, a flock of amorphous, birdlike creatures dances across an ink-blue sky—the designs could’ve been lifted from an ancient Minoan urn. The nude figure returns in this work, shimmering like an earth goddess molded from bronze. She is depicted only from the waist down, a symbol of divine fecundity. As with Martinů’s illustrious piece of music, Hosnedl’s images succeed in tapping into springtime’s metaphysical countenance and midnight heart.