Critics’ Picks

View of “Wavelength,” 2014.

New York

Matthew Ronay

Andrea Rosen Gallery | 2
544 West 24th Street
June 28 - August 22

Biological and psychological ritual are the backbone of Matthew Ronay’s latest exhibition, which presents a series of intimate gouaches rendered in a palette of vivid blues, purples, and reds. These amorphic exercises in what Ronay refers to as “muscle memory” were composed daily and focus, as does the practice of meditation, on the undulating of the human respiratory system. Unlike some of Ronay’s previous work, the erotic component of this series is nonexplicit, the focus instead on the intersection between the stimulating and the spiritual. There is the delicately sexual 12.10.13, 2013, which calls to mind the moment of conception, and 01.23.14, 2014, an intricate meandering of pale pink through tears in tissue-like red.

Of the one hundred works made as part of this series, only thirty-four were put on view, and the empty space creates a sense of drama, causing the viewer to wonder why certain days were omitted. The pieces are set irregularly in two rows, surrounded by barely visible gray-washed shadows of identical size, which are standing reminders of Ronay’s other visual meditations. The psychosexual symbology within these works coupled with the tension between the gouaches and their ghostly counterparts ignites questions of self-censorship. “Wavelength” is an elegantly curated reminder that ritualized creation has a strong history in both the visual and spiritual.