New York

Rosemarie Castoro

In her third one-woman show at Tibor de Nagy, Rosemarie Castoro continues her use of gessoed Masonite rubbed with graphite which, when fixed to the wall, has the appearance of enlarged brushstrokes. This year’s work differs from previous work in that the squiggles and brushstrokes have now also become figures. As figures, the marks are usually undifferentiated outlines—“exoskeletal auras” Castoro calls them—but they are definitely figures, conveying the essential characteristics of human posture, silhouette, and movement. As before, the white wall serves as a ground for the marks which are now smaller in scale. The figures occur mostly in groups, and Castoro often seems interested in using them to create the illusion of space. In several of the larger pieces, such as Parade, Cast of Thousands, and Going Away, long lines and rows of figures diminish into minute size and an illusory distance. Other pieces are concerned with the physical and social posture and movement of the figures rather than their mass and perspective. In Street Creep, the loose scattered lines just barely delineate figures, but still convey a dancelike sensation. A distinctly female “exoskeleton” confronts a group of figures in Proprietary, while in a piece titled Canal Street, figures seem to stroll along, browsing, hands in their pockets.

While Castoro’s previous work was interesting and humorous, the present pieces are only vaguely amusing and less interesting. The use of the mark for figuration seems to contradict its earlier use which implied autonomy from both the support and from any kind of representation. The figuration is competent, but it reduces Castoro’s means to just one more of several ways of depicting something, which it was not before.

Roberta Pancoast Smith