New York

Clinton Hill

Zabriskie Gallery

Clinton Hill, for example, paints another version of the understated ascetic tradition within rectangular abstraction. But it seems incidental to this ultimate ambition that his new painting should make so much of the substance upon which his acrylic has been applied—fiberglass sheeting, softened and subtly modeled and rendered as barely liminal yet highly intrusive texture. It may be that Hill is exploiting the fibrous nature of his material by way of demonstrating its peculiarities although the maculation and graininess point to the tradition of the now-neglected collages of Ann Ryan, not to speak of Sumi painting on rice paper. By contrast Hill’s shape vernacular is familiar: efficacious comparisons (wide against narrow), “proper” structure (hierarchic, symmetrical), conceptual order (dark to light gradation reversing itself in abutted rectangles). Theoretically the effacement of the means, as compared to the universality of the ends, is striking. But, as visual experiences, the presentations are foregone conclusions.

Robert Pincus-Witten