New York

Gary Stephan

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

Gary Stephan’s paintings are a mystery only until your patience runs out. At first, you attempt an impressionistic reading of the forms. Is this irregular shape that floats close to the bottom of the canvas an entrance, a door, from which a kind of mysterious, suffused light is drawn out? No, for there is an arched section on the bottom near the left side. And there is a “table leg” off on the extreme right, which is attached by a small horizontal member from the top.

Are these two forms? Or is the background a third form? Stephan uses a darker version of the defined shape for the background (in most cases). Background might not be the right word. The paintings are so atmospheric that it is useless to conjecture about the relative nearness or distance of the shapes in relation to one another. It all depends, I would think, on the disposition of the viewer. At least you can say that the

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