New York

Jane Kaufmann

Paley And Lowe Gallery

Jane Kaufmann’s new paintings at Paley and Lowe are almost black with glimmers of deep purple, green, alizarin, and blue. They generate more light than her earlier high-keyed paintings, for light must qualify itself as it emerges from opaque depths, the lack of contrast increasing the intensity of luminescence. Unlike Flavin’s work, Kaufmann’s paintings encourage metaphorical associations such as night and sky, the cosmic and universal. However, this expression remains within inherited conventions of field painting. The consistently modulated variations are similar to Olitski’s work, although Kaufmann never builds up texture and is more interested in atmosphere than in saturation of color. Her use of borders also seems to derive from Olitski’s drawn edges, which provide a scale of measurement against which the works convey greater depth. In Olitski’s work, the borders are flat frontal elements behind which the inner regions ingress more indeterminately. In many of Kaufmann’s paintings the edges seem intrusive, applied rather than created out of the necessities of the work. Her interest is not purely formal, as apparent from the titles of some of her paintings—Moonless, Requiem, Specter, Nocturne. But she seems unable to transcend formal conventions for a more personal involvement with these metaphors, not necessarily to be perceived as recognizable content, but as quality of luminescence.

––Lizzie Borden