New York

Sidney Goodman

Terry Dintenfass Gallery

Sidney Goodman’s Ausstellung includes drawings and watercolors as well as sizable paintings. Some of the latter were seen earlier in a Whitney show of works by artists under thirty-five years old. There are no further revelations in the current show. Goodman’s abilities as a draftsman become diluted and lost in his big canvases, which reveal a shocking poverty as a colorist. Despite elaborate distractions offered by murky allegorical suggestions, his chilly acid palette and limited range of values cannot be made to support a Sense of Meaning. Compositionally the paintings are faultless and boring. Swooping perspectives and calculated departures from symmetry as in Women on Lounges are apparently intended to strike one as ritualized presentations of deliberately ordinary subjects. A dreamlike blurring of the forms isn’t haunting but tricky. Far from being message pictures, the bigger works such as Eclipse are machines wherein import loses out to vapidity. The best painting, Woman Stretching, can’t touch Hopper even by calling in Leonardo, Muybridge, and McGarrell as character witnesses.

The drawings are really a different matter. A limited tonal range imposed by the medium works well enough here, and the reduced scale compared to the paintings does away with pretentiousness. Taken as “capricci,” the arch subjects attain a level of interest the paintings fail to reach. A pen drawing, Women Near Oxygen, has a Segonzac atmosphere agreeing well with its mock-sinister imagery. Rather than being really affecting through the evocative possibilities of figures and objects in casually improbable associations, Goodman settles for a “look” in this show. Unfortunately, it makes all the difference.

Dennis Adrian