New York

Stefan Hirsch

Rosa Esman Gallery

In the first painting, Self Portrait, a prim, dour man in a brown jacket stares out warily through round glasses. Behind him hangs an overcoat. This painting, like all of Stefan Hirsch’s, concerns the elimination and correction of detail. The jacket’s diagonal lapel is “missing”; it has disappeared to give the lapel shape and body underneath it a subtle ambiguity. The hanging coat’s similar lapel edge looks as if it had been painted “correctly,” in the proper perspective, and then adjusted little by little until it formed a deliberate horizontal line. As the eye moves back and forth between these two details—elimination which makes the human form flatter, and formal correction of the inanimate coat as surrogate—a curious, slow intimacy between actual and pictorial vision is discreetly underlined.

The earlier paintings admit their debt to Cézannesque vision, but the landscape does not fare

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