New York

Tony Robbin

Allesandra Gallery

Perhaps I’ve grown up on too much literalist art. No matter how much so-called illusion there is in a painting, I just see something flat. Many people can’t seem to get over the illusionism in Tony Robbin’s work, and I don’t get it. I might quote Bruce Boice: “One kind of illusion is as real as another, and illusion is as real as any other allegedly real entity. A still-life painting is not less real than Carl Andre’s fire bricks. Illusion is a possibility, and in a certain sense, a necessity.” Boice was writing about representational art, but here it’s abstraction. Since there is no art which is not illusionistic, it all becomes a matter of degree, or taste, as to whether you think Robbin’s paintings are “too” illusionistic. And I thought flatness was no longer holy. Such a defense may sound odd in discussing a young, unknown painter’s art. But it is as much a defense in principle as a

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