New York

Stanley Boxer

Stanley Boxer’s articulate paintings in oil on linen, shown at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in January, have two levels. There is, first, a clearcut graphic design. Then there is a sensitive in-painting, in parallel strokes usually, of the defined forms, in colors that tend to be pastels; these areas, regarded in themselves, vary in density from the almost spacious to the opaque.

The paintings have a rather British look, partly, no doubt, because of the even but highly textural unbleached linen, but also because the compositions can resemble Victor Pasmore’s. American attachments, however, are inescapable, in the forms — which sometimes suggest Rothko — as well as in the psychological content: there is a contemplativeness that is not unlike, say, Morris Graves without the birds.

Boxer would be a more interesting painter if he could refine or overcome his penchant for inserting irregular strips between his main forms and the edges, reconciling the two with unnecessary fuss. The engaging picture Lafayette Rainbow manages to do very well without the device, although it could be argued that here — on the contrary— the same idea actually takes over as a main motif. Snowdarkhue, dominated by plum and lavender, uses strong wavy bands, establishing a firm but nonreferential rippled shape that reminds me of Paul Feeley. Dappledprairie is balanced and satisfying, and without the difficulties I have touched upon.

––Joseph Masheck