New York

Stephen Mueller

Tibor de Nagy Gallery

Stephen Mueller’s show consisted of large abstract paintings made with a combination of acrylic paint and raw pigment. Mueller seems to fall into that category called “sensibility painting”—more or less pejoratively—by Robert Pincus-Witten. I call his painting “abstract” because it is entirely concerned with a fluid, continuous space that doesn’t depend at all on material signification. In fact, it rather depends on a denial of materiality that doesn’t quite come off. Not Seated—Not Surrounded uses translucent colors in a variety of configurations set, for the most part, at an obtuse angle to the “picture plane.” This sort of indirect frontality is modified in part by three frontal rectangles, two at the top of the painting and one that floats in the middle right. Of the two rectangles at the top of the painting, the one on the left overlaps an elongated form that runs off diagonally toward

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