Critics’ Picks

Xylor Jane, Untitled (Three 727 digit Sophie Germain prime palindromes), 2017, oil and colored pencil on paper mounted on board, 16 x 20".

Los Angeles

Xylor Jane

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
1326 South Boyle Avenue
January 13–February 17

An accidental smudge on the left edge of PeopleMover (all works 2017) reveals Xylor Jane’s geometric paintings to be an incommensurate tug-of-war between the steady work of the hand and the roving pleasure of the eye. Like a well-crafted collection of couturier garments, these ten paintings have in common certain marks and signs—little colorful dots, lists of prime-number palindromes—and most are handsomely framed out in steel with a dull, brassy finish. And yet, each work is unquestionably its own, possessing traits unique to itself. In PeopleMover, this individuated element would be the silvery ground, which appears nowhere else, and upon which Jane has painted a sequence of pastel triangles undulating across the painting’s surface. Similar to works by Agnes Martin, from afar, PeopleMover looks cool and mechanical, but when viewed up close one can see it is filled with little instances of humanity.

The artist’s paintings vacillate between an enlivening riot of rainbow colors (Magic Square for Earthlings or 91418) and more deadpan, subdued palettes (Zahav [Ninety-four 11 digit prime palindromes arranged in four columns, selected from a group of 42,100]). Information—in the form of integers—seeps from the work, but its use value is anyone’s guess. In this way, Jane’s oil-on-board works put a kind of phenomenological spell on a viewer as she joins histories of Op art and the occult. If they could speak they would chant. And as with any good mystery, paying attention only deepens the enigma.