New York

Gary Stephan, Nancy Holt and Joe Zucker

Bykert Gallery

An involvement with the relationship between the shape of and the shape(s) on the canvas, between what Michael Fried called “literal” and “depicted” shape, is evident in much 20th-century painting from Mondrian through Newman and Reinhardt to Kelly, Stella, and Mangold. A recent, developing involvement is seen in the paintings of Gary Stephan. Like Stella and Mangold, Stephan does not always maintain a strict distinction between the two kinds of shapes; they are often combined, resulting in a third category: implied shapes. Stephan has accepted the dictum that external shape must determine internal shape, but he is not above messing around with it a bit; he both simplifies and complicates the notion. Each canvas shape has a depicted shape which relates to it in some eventually comprehensible way, but this one-to-one relationship is confounded by the fact that Stephan’s canvases consist of

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