Critics’ Picks

In the Darkness, 2004.

In the Darkness, 2004.

New York

Susan Homer

Metaphor Contemporary Art
382 Atlantic Avenue
July 19, 2013–February 13, 2005

The twenty-five paintings and drawings that make up Susan Homer’s first New York solo show are notable among recent art-world offerings as much for their unassuming views of gracious domesticity as for their no-tech, low-concept subject matter. Homer's canvases admit to a fascination with both nineteenth-century literary descriptions and plein-air Impressionism. Her rendering moves from quick, fluid brushwork that registers the lucent delicacy of tiny birds, dainty teacups, and papery flower petals to chunky impasto that relates the sensual qualities of these same objects. And Homer’s repertoire of patterns, which arrive as tablecloths, trees, and textured surfaces, might be taken from Van Gogh or Peter Doig. This formal success, however, is limited to her modestly sized canvases: With the exception of In the Darkness, 2004 (whose overlapping branches and rain of stars and white blooms tranquilly layer a color-block surface), Homer’s larger paintings are composed of a blend of abstract and representational imagery that she hasn’t quite mastered. But for a first show, her paintings’ subjects—gentle narrative upheavals, wherein one act seems to be completed as another, unexpected one begins—mark a wonderfully understated start.