New York

Howardena Pindell

A.I.R. Gallery

Howardena Pindell’s paintings at A.I.R. result from the buildup of small dots into fields of color. Pindell works on raw canvas, using a technique which is vaguely pointillist and achieves an interesting degree of variety within her very defined means. The paintings primarily reveal the way different colors accumulate, in terms of space and surface. For example, there are two paintings which are predominantly a rust orange color; in the first this color is interspersed with blue and a lighter orange and in the second with a pale green. The dark rust consequently occupies different spatial positions in the two paintings. A more marked contrast exists between a painting of dark purple, blue, and black dots which combine and disappear into a continuous opaque surface and a painting of lighter, pastel dots which remain uniformly distinct, causing the whole surface to jump a little with a retinal afterimage of blue-white light and dots. An objection is that the work, despite the reduced means and unified image, remains too soft and opulent and too indistinct, particularly in terms of physical shape and surface.

––Roberta Pancoast Smith