New York

Helene Valentin

Max Hutchinson Gallery

It might as well be said at the outset that Helene Valentin’s paintings bear a vitiating resemblance to tie-dye fabrics, crushed velvet, and wrinkled satin. This is unfortunate since Valentin’s technique can at times be ingratiating and some of the paintings are compositionally more interesting than immediate associations might suggest. Her general format plays off an allover mottled ground against drifting rows of crisply contoured blotches or fractured lateral strokes. The contrast of these splintery tactile incidences with the blurred effusions of the overall field does induce some visceral excitement. But the effectiveness of figure-ground vibration is mitigated by usually banal color and tonal schemes—most often closely valued complementary oppositions such as pale cobalt against beige and milky orange, or lurid matings of reds, violets, blues, and black.

On close view, one notices

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