Critics’ Picks

Mel Kendrick, Pipe/Hole, 2000. Installation view.

Mel Kendrick, Pipe/Hole, 2000. Installation view.

New York

Raoul de Keyser, Suzan Frecon, Thomas Nozkowski, Uwe Kowski, Mel Kendrick

Gorney Bravin + Lee
534 West 26th Street
May 21–June 19, 2004

The dialogue among the works of these four painters and one sculptor—all of whom have significant exhibition histories and many years of abstract work under their belts—is more murmur than shouting match, and, with no readily apparent ideology, no radical mixing of mediums, and no young marquee names, visitors to this show may have trouble discerning a hook. Take your time, though: What reveals itself as the common denominator is sophisticated abstract visual language predicated on harmonious color and compositional balance. Leipzig-based painter Uwe Kowski nestles fragments of words among thinly painted strokes of color that, in Fieber, 2004, seem like an imaginary landscape. Sculptor Mel Kendrick contributes the beautifully delicate Pipe/Hole, 2000, a hollow, upended, and black ink-washed tree trunk with circular excisions, supported by two metal pipes and garlanded in rubber. As in his Untitled (Orange Block), 2004, the play between what’s there and what isn’t is deftly realized. In keeping with the quiet tone, three examples of Thomas Nozkowski’s technically hyper-proficient easel-scale abstractions are devoid of color. But, like the rest of the work in the show, they’re no less expressive for their mutedness.