new-york

Alan Shields

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

Rare it is in current painting to find the exuberant range of emotion that the five large pictures in Alan Shields’s exhibition unabashedly proclaim. These sophisticated panoramas, four painted, one sewn, react in confident intensity against a milieu increasingly prosaic and obscure.

Four of the pictures are made on rough, heavy canvas, hemmed and grommetted like sails or flags, and one is painted on thick, woven sisal. Their colors are often pale and uneven, but they strive for a deliberate brightness that appears occasionally as luxurious surrender, or ironically, in embarrassment about capitulating to strong and simple feelings. The pictures are full of dots, circles, balls and arcs that weave like planets and traffic lights across a landscape of pyramids and solid blocks. Small pieces of striped canvas are sewn onto and around the large scenes, which are often dressed with long chains

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