New York

Edvins Strautmanis

Logiudice Gallery

Edvins Strautmanis’ paintings, seen at LoGiudice, are very similar to some of de Kooning’s done during the late ’50s and early ’60s. Those paintings were, for de Kooning, rather diluted, and Strautmanis continues the dilution. He may even, if only because of the current state of painting, transcend it. The canvas has once again become an arena for heroic activity. The velocity of that activity is the most prominent aspect of the work. It appears to have been created at top speed with broad continuous strokes zigzagging side to side or top to bottom, spewing aside splatters and drips. In several ways the paintings are bigger than de Kooning’s: wider strokes define fewer and broader areas on larger canvases. But the increase remains one of size, not scale, with the result that the work seems overblown and sizeless. Ultimately, the objections have little to do with de Kooning. The paintings register a confrontation between an artist and his canvas; they are the results of an event. And the final awareness is of his gesture and departure rather than their autonomy.

––Roberta Pancoast Smith