PRINT May 1979

Howard Buchwald: Perspective Once Again a Problematic

So the history of perspective may be understood with equal right as a triumph of the feeling for reality, making for distance and objectivity, and as a triumph of the human struggle for power, denying distance.

—Erwin Panofsky, Perspective As a Symbolic Form

LIKE THE GHOST OF HAMLET'S FATHER, perspective—that “ambivalent method” of pictorial construction, as Panofsky calls it—arouses our own ambivalence. Perspective reminds us that form is in part “determined by a system of coordinates present only in the spectator’s imagination,” and, as such, form is implicitly “referred to an eccentric sight point,” symbolic of seemingly arbitrary subjectivity. This unresolved mix of (again Panofsky’s words) “a ‘claim’ of the objective as against the ambition of the subjective” is exploited in Howard Buchwald’s new paintings to a rich new existential effect, conquering for what I have called Existential

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