New York

Edward Avedisian

Robert Elkon Gallery

Edward Avedisian’s new paintings are his most acutely distressed statements to date. Faced with painting himself out of a systematized color abstraction in which he dovetailed early Poons and Stella, Avedisian opted for a looser usage, focusing in on certain critical features of color field painting of about three years back—namely its immateriality and its limpidity, two conditions which contributed to color painting’s pent up sense of luminosity. However, Avedisian—like many figures in the broad front of second school field painting, Poons, Landfield, Ruda, Wofford particularly—has chosen to thicken up the field and, unlike the others, has managed to clog it, to render it, at least for me, unsympathetic. Not forcefully disagreeable like Poons—just blandly unimpressive. As a result, Avedisian’s reputation as a colorist must be called into question because I can think of little else in so-called advanced painting today as unsupple or as coloristically banal.

Avedisian employs paint rollers as his primary instrument to thicken the surface. The use of such an implement builds dryly porous layers but discourages seepages or feather bleedings, which marked the inception of his looser style. And this arid method emphasizes, as never before, Avedisian’s Mexicali color sense—conventional variations on a single hue, relieved by rollings in and over of complementaries. The composition has remained a long horizontal arena and the fields are set through, a friezework of approximately vertical gestures.

Robert Pincus-Witten