New York

Wolf Kahn

Borgenicht Gallery

Wolf Kahn’s show at Borgenicht gives us nature diluted by a temperament. His controlled understatement encourages intimacy; we are encouraged to imagine more than we see: brooding presences, dimly apprehended. A talented and deft painter, Kahn has always been interested in atmospheric effects and close-valued color. The new oils and pastels show him working toward a greater opacity and simplicity, especially explicit in the sailboat series. In these grey silhouettes, poised vertically against a grey sky and a little quiet grey water, poetic feeling is balanced by the weight of the color and the pigment, Kahn’s lyricism is more blatant in the gaudier pastels. There the banality of the conception makes it all look too easy—houses huddling together between expanses of luminous earth and sky. The most interesting painting in the show was the large Barn in the Woods, a composition slightly riskier than most, which sets a large ominous mass of darkness against a narrow strip of silvery trees.

Amy Goldin