New York

Katherine Porter

David McKee Gallery

Boston-based Katherine Porter was one of the innumerable grid-worrying painters of the early ’70s; she has lately broken out with a great blast of eccentric energy, perhaps emboldened by the recent vogue of skewed, quirky abstraction, certainly adding her own note to it. Her paintings have a theatrical quality and the rough gaiety of big dogs. They are also manically sophisticated, as if a lifetime’s education were being regurgitated all at once. Recent Philip Guston has clearly been a decisive influence, and one could describe some of her paintings in terms that would fit some of his: inept-cartoony shapes in aggressively hot, dark or plummy colors, jumbled in shallow, stagelike spaces, the whole knitted by brushy facture of pasty or chalky pigment-choked oils.

But Porter is out to indulge, and show off, a wider repertoire than Guston’s “dumb” style allows. She hews to the abstract, for

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