New York

Philip Guston

David McKee Gallery

Philip Guston’s latest work—a disparate group of eleven paintings and four drawings—omits the Klansman-like figures prominent in most of his painting since 1970. The leading figure now is a bristly, bean-shaped head with ear and enormous, pupil-less eye. The image suggests a thinking eye, the essential stripped-down painter’s eye. One other recurrent image is more familiar: the cartoonlike shoes with prominent nails in their soles have appeared in Guston’s paintings since his Artists Project days.

The images are constantly on the edge of dislocation from the thick, lushly handled ground. Guston told me at the gallery that his well-known attraction to the work of Piero della Francesca grew from a fascination with the way forms interact in Piero’s paintings and the continuing mystery of the spaces between them. A certain amount of that mystery is present in the almost theatrical way Guston’s

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