new-york

Roberta Allen and Roman Opalka

John Weber Gallery

Roberta Allen showed work of two sorts. Strips of canvas arranged on rollers, in groups, partially rolled and partially unrolled and labeled according to the length exposed. And groups of vertical lines on gridded paper—one line to a square—labeled as arrows without heads denoted as pointing up in some pictures and down in others. The theme of partial concealment also enters into some of these drawings. Allen is impressive because of the variety she gets out of this simple idea, and this variety—the large number of different kinds of work she’s able to make with it—indicates the depth of its importance. Allen hints—with, I think, some humor—at one affinity that art has with language in general: in both cases flexibility derives from a fundamentally arbitrary allusiveness.

Roman Opalka showed several of the paintings he makes, accompanied by his muffled voice on a speaker system, counting.

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