New York

Group Show

112 Greene St.

The problem in group shows in general, and in the group show at 112 Greene Street, is that work is exhibited one per artist leaving the focus of the artists’ intentions to guesswork. Such shows are often lively, as indeed this one is, but they just about exclude the possibility of serious criticism. But exhibitions are not mounted, one hopes, to provide subjects for criticism. With the possibility of serious criticism excluded, perhaps it is safe to try. Rosemarie Castro’s Tored, graphite and gesso on masonite, looks like a giant brushstroke mounted on the wall recalling Lichtenstein and therefore Abstract Expressionism, or perhaps the more current lyrical abstraction with its characteristic sumptuous color conspicuously absent. Beyond worrying about brushstroke associations, the piece looks cut from a single convoluted dead tree which seems impossible, but it was necessary to ask about it as close inspection reveals no evidence to the contrary. Tored refers to drawing, painting, and sculpture without belonging exclusively to any of those categories; but it does present a situation which shows the work within all three categories to exist as concrete, three-dimensional objects. The assumption at first glance at Randal Arabie’s untitled work is that there are three lines of notebook-paper cones on the floor which intersect at a point equidistant from the ends of each line. A closer look shows the cones form the sides of two opposed and intersecting acute angles. The perception of this configuration is confused because the intersection of the angles occurs at a point where each angle begins being clear as an angle; and the intersection, in a sense, disguises the configuration and generally throws the perception of it off the track. Richard Mock’s untitled work is made of various kinds of cloth including camouflaging and plastic dropcloth, and hangs from the top of a wall twisting down it and sprawling on the floor. Like much of the work of Shields, and recently Al Loving, Mock seems to be trying to get away from painting without really getting away from it, but his work is more rough and tumble. On the floor near but not attached to the hanging portion of the piece are cloth configurations like outsized and outlandish women’s dresses, perhaps indicating a focus on the material of paintings as material. Suzanne Harris exhibits a roughly assembled cardboard construction jutting out from the wall like a hollow truncated wedge-shaped tunnel. The smaller open end is about 3 1/2' high and the back end is nearly ceiling height. Inside the construction is darkness except for an uncovered rectangle of window high on the back wall and the similarly shaped rectangle of the opening at the front. Jene Highstein’s untitled work is a three-dimensional folded rectangle of steel pipe on the floor, and Jeffrey Lew shows one of his pieces with logs and bark in three aligned steel flatbeds one of which is shielded by a thick piece of plexiglass. Bum Cart is a work by a literally unknown artist; it is a bizarrely modified baby carriage found on the street and brought into the gallery where it seems to belong.

Bruce Boice