PRINT December 1995

Richard Shiff


I like art that repays long, extended looking. Having seen SYLVIA PLIMACK MANGOLD’s current work twice this year—a truncated version of her retrospective in June at Brooke Alexander and the full exhibition in September at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery—I found that I would have needed to rearrange my day, even my week, to absorb it all. A painting by Plimack Mangold immediately slows my fast, impatient viewing. Her recent trees in particular require extra time. Maples and elms? Can garden-variety trees be painted compellingly in 1995 without configuring them as endangered, marginalized, gendered, or the Other? Plimack Mangold simply puts the emphasis on seeing and making. Her trees grow organically, but also materially, like a painter’s vision. She shows how many different things paint can accomplish at the same time as creating illusion. Sometimes paint is a

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