Critics’ Picks

Milton Resnick, U + Me, 1989, gouache on paper, 18 x 24".

New York

Milton Resnick

Miguel Abreu Gallery | Eldridge Street
88 Eldridge Street 4th Floor
March 18–April 25

Milton Resnick left New York for Europe in 1946, just as the New York School was reaching cohesion, casting him as something of an outsider. When he came back in 1948, he began a massive figurative canvas on which he worked for months, only to destroy it in a state of exhausted delirium. Resnick arrived at his mature style of heavily impastoed near-monochrome paintings around 1960. The works in this exhibition, “Apparitions, Reapparitions,” suggest that Resnick’s figurative turn in the early 1980s wasn’t an about-face from the sonorous abstractions for which he is best known, but that the figures that had once haunted him had returned for a final reckoning.

The sprawling exhibition comprises works on paper depicting figures, still lifes, landscapes, and abstractions. Untitled, 1989, features a standing individual, perhaps female, ensconced in a flickering, sanguine environment. A slight tilt of the head conveys an astonishing breadth of personality. In U+Me, 1989, a duo frolics in a verdant landscape beside two forms resembling a sperm and egg. Untitled, 1992, is a small still life with four fruit-like clumps on a slate-gray tabletop. The specter of Chaim Soutine is felt in the lavender haze that envelops the tableau.

In the late 1990s, Resnick began to reduce forms to geometries, signaling his reprisal of abstraction. Composition, 1998, is a rendering of four simplified objects that look like a tombstone, a gate, and two picture frames, all of which are arranged against a blue-green ground. One senses that Resnick’s forms—whether people, objects, or shapes—were always there, lying in wait beneath the recalcitrant material with which he labored.