New York

Kimber Smith

Robert Elkon Gallery

It is reassuring to see a painter like Kimber Smith, who has painted now for three decades, continuing to paint well, free of the anxiety of anachronism. Such anxiety is debilitating; it may provoke an undue obeisance to superficial trends or a cranky irony in regard to painters more “of the day”; it may provoke a surreptitious revision of one’s work with an eye to art history or a frivolity that would pass as gayness but is in fact self-parody; or it may just be manifest in a tiredness with an edgy compulsion to go on. Smith treads past these hazards with an apparent nonchalance. The manner and motifs of the painting—fluent forms of color on unprimed ground, much of the canvas bare—do proceed from Abstract Expressionism, but the references are by no means slavish or clichéd or museological. Free of such anxiety, Smith does not swerve (in the sense of Harold Bloom) away from precursors or

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