New York

Tod Wizon

Willard Gallery

Tod Wizon has taken one of the most worked-over categories of paintings in modern art (landscape) and managed to do something fresh and interesting with it. Executed in small formats, they range from 73/4-inch squares to 30-by 40-inch rectangles.

As images, Wizon’s paintings have a striking, jump-off-the-wall immediacy, pinning the viewer down with screaming color contrasts—sharp reds, greens, yellows—and then sweeping the viewer away with a swirl of planar rhythms. Perceptual responses give way to associative ones as each work suggests various romantic, symbolist, expressionist art sources, and then eludes comparison with the likes, say, of Van Gogh and Kandinsky. Then there’s nature, and photographic representation—particularly aerial views—to think about, given the fragmentary, rush-off-the-edge compositions. But the application, stressing a variety of surfaces in a single work, shouts paint. Titles like Rim and Springs encourage a representational reading. But where Rim looks geographical, Springs and Gradient look biological. Still, what all the examples share, no matter their size or ambiguity, is an organic, individual “take me on my terms” stance.

Ronny Cohen