New York

Paul Feeley

Betty Parsons Gallery

Veteran Paul Feeley shows constructions rather than paintings in his current show at Betty Parsons. These works in painted plywood are all based on the round cornered square with curved-in sides that has been a familiar feature of his art for some time now. Interlocking multiples of this form severely order the space around them, engaging a far greater amount of surrounding territory than ought to be possible by the right-angled intersection of two thin planes. The pieces perversely deal with volumes while themselves having negligible mass and limited extent. Their polychromy does, however, give them some weight and skillfully enhances their graceless poise. The color invariably consists of two contrasting bands of equal width which follow the edges of each form, leaving a larger area of identical shape but smaller size in the middle. The large floor-standing pieces have a pulsing beat related to Brancusi’s “Endless Column,” but Feeley’s forms are organic rather than conceptual. Peristaltically rearing up like Arps in striped corsets they radiate the aplomb of an artistic sensibility that is more concerned with the infinite manifestations of a copyrighted “Urgestalt” than with sustained inventiveness. The amount of potential ennui that Feeley skirts in these works is perhaps more interesting than the pieces themselves, but there is no denying his complacent commitment. As in the past Feeley’s titles (e.g. “Elnath,” “Elphekrah,” “Elrischa”) suggest Near-Eastern archaeological sites where tatty potsherds of enormous importance are found.

Dennis Adrian