New York

Janet Fish

Kornblee Gallery

I’m still wondering why the human figure doesn’t make more of an appearance in New Realist painting. Janet Fish, showing at Kornblee seems to be painting objects that are meant to stand in for the human figure—Windex bottles, olive oil bottles, gin bottles, and such—all standing in little groups usually with their labels averted. There is an essential atmosphere of ,intimacy about these paintings which in fact distinguishes them from what is gathered under the term New Realism. They are far more intimate than Chuck Close’s new portraits, say, from which human expressiveness is eliminated almost entirely. Though that intimacy is quite appealing and recalls more traditional still lifes, it is not really taken anywhere; the point of the paintings seems rather to be to arrive at the sense of intimacy.

Kenneth Baker