New York

Doug Sanderson

Doug Sanderson exhibits two groups of paintings at Paula Cooper. The first consists of small pieces of paper pinned on the wall, each one containing two squares painted in white, variants of white, or transparent rubbery medium. Like some of Robert Ryman’s work, they appear fragile because the paint is cracking and peeling. Yellow, mottled, they look like the test samples demonstrating paint in hardware stores. The second group is composed of larger rectangles painted or pasted directly on the wall. Based on the module of the shadow in the room, they are done in variants of the colors of both wall and shadow, so that it is difficult to distinguish between the original and the painted surfaces.

Both sets of works focus upon the literalness of surface; they are all pinned, pasted, or painted directly on the wall and approximate its crumbly texture. The small paintings emphasize the deterioration of the surface, while the large ones force the viewer to find the real wall. Somehow, though, these experiments seem self-consciously unpretentious; as a means of expanding the viewer’s awareness of the particular space, they are effective but not particularly enlightening. Perhaps it is necessary to see more of Sanderson’s work, for the pieces shown by themselves seem rather shallow.

Lizzie Borden