New York

Thomas Downing

Sachs Gallery

Thomas Downing presents a dozen pieces of constant format, a channel with fretted folds at either side. In a movement in which manipulative personality is sacrificed to the search for one’s own signature shape—Downing’s contribution is a rejection of the anticipated isometrics common to a wide segment of the abstract illusionist group (another faction plays at space-annihilating permutation, i.e. illusionism versus elusiveness). Downing deals instead in a flip-side Renaissance single-point perspective, bringing to mind by its very reversal, Ron Davis’s recent Uccellesque double polyhedrons. The so-called ray lines of Renaissance space constructs converge in Downing’s work to a vanishing point, below, behind and to the right of the viewer. Whether or not this is a valuable fixation still remains an open issue, for apart from the folded and interesting shape—something akin to a cross section of a paper plane—my suspicion is that Downing is overcompensating for a “designy” color sense, hard cold blues and greens against ambiguous purply browns and reds. Perhaps oddest of all—despite the enormous sympathy one has for the shape—Downing’s canvases seem oddly small.

Robert Pincus-Witten