New York

Patrick Heron

Bertha Schaefer

Patrick Heron’s current exhibition of oils makes a more forceful statement of his own abilities as an abstractionist than did the reverent curtsies to Gottlieb and Rothko seen in earlier shows. Heron has tightened up his form a great deal, now letting the contours pursue a course of sensitive irregularity with discernible purpose rather than poetic vagueness. Block slabs of color are pierced with roughish circles of contrasting hue that are sometimes a background color and sometimes that of another adjacent area. Intricately locked together by their common perimeter, the big main forms have a massy equilibrium adding to the optical weight of Heron’s intense colors. This harmonic interpenetration in each picture generates a classical stability throughout the exhibition. This masculine repose effectively overrides the decorative flair that Heron had chosen as his strong suit in the past. The easy strength of these recent works dispenses with charm in favor of poise. Perhaps it is an acceptable alternative to profundity.

Dennis Adrian