Critics’ Picks

View of “Peter Young,” 2013.

New York

Peter Young

71 Morton Street
November 2 - December 21

This exhibition continues the revival of Peter Young, whose intricate abstractions were shown at MoMA PS1 and Mitchell Algus Gallery in 2007, and at Algus Greenspon in 2012. While his 2012 exhibition featured paintings of looping gestural grounds interwoven with elliptical lattices of white produced between 1995 and 2004, this show mines a tightly controlled linear series from 1980–83 called “Linear Weave (Vertical Fold)” that wrestles the viewer’s attention into a state of absorptive transfixion. Indeed, it is difficult to pry oneself from each painting yet spontaneous elements and changes in pattern force one to react and readjust.

17-1980, for instance, departs from the same vertical bilateral division seen in the other works on view, yet along the centerline areas of a woven color pattern that ranges from umber to aqua, beige, pink, and green prove inconsistent with the general symmetry and upset our expectation. These barely perceptible irregularities heighten the organic, tactile feel of the weave, and at the bottom and top ends the pattern seems to dissolve like the frayed ends of a Navajo textile on the loom or a pixelated image.

Young has maintained an ambivalent stance toward the New York art world since the late 1960s, when he rebuffed attempts by Leo Castelli and others to promote him as a post-Minimalist art star. Indeed his work has continually challenged routinized viewing by coextending reductivist systems-based art, psychedelia, and native craft. Straddling different contexts and temporalities, this exhibition puts pressure on current speculations about abstraction in the digital era by weaving us into variations on a singular perceptual state.