New York

Pierre Montant

Touchstone Gallery

The newly opened Touchstone Gallery, a bit removed from the downtown area (up on 4th Street and Bowery) endorses three European artists fairly new to the New York art scene. What’s unfortunately problematic with much contemporary European painting, and admittedly due in large part to our SoHo conditioning, is that it looks better in a dentist’s office than in a gallery. Pierre Montant, a Swiss-born artist, in his first one-man show in New York, exhibited paintings completed during his winter months here. They are all professionally presented and have the traditional qualities of permanence, completeness, refinement, and “sellability.” All the paintings have something to do with an obsession with the sea.

One particular painting in the show stood out because it was the only figurative example of his work. It is entitled Sea-Addicts Meditation, which depicts a half-washed-out still life with what appears to be an ominous partially cropped head staring out of a window. In the background(?) you can see what appears to be a blue horizon, which I assume represents the sea.

Whatever personal feelings Montant may have had were lost in the metamorphosis, but I suppose it’s an almost self-defeating project to insist that a semiabstract painting convey an artist’s precise intentions.

Francis Naumann