new-york

Joan Mitchell

Jackson Gallery

Joan Mitchell’s recent paintings at the Martha Jackson Gallery provide an instance of one of those critical hindsights, reluctantly formed, and disagreeable to contemplate. It is one thing to discover that an artist one had not been too fond of in the past reveals an unexpected solidity, enough perhaps to revise one’s previously negative estimate. It is quite another to see in present work a superficiality that retrospectively belies a long-held, and obviously not too perceptive indulgence. Such is my experience with Miss Mitchell’s new show.

This time around, the artist, who has been living for over a decade in Paris, makes fully evident the liabilities—a cavalier thinness of design and a decorativeness of stroke that had always marked the French art informel with which she has chosen to be associated. Her white on white fudging of shape contours, her breezy and brio-esque impasto, are

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