new-york

Louisa Chase

Robert Miller Gallery

The formulary repetitiveness of Louisa Chase’s paintings can get a little trying. Landscape elements (trees, lakes, mountains) are thickly brushed with bright, funky colors out of a Betsey Johnson fashion show. Background is contrastingly smoothly waxy, a thick coat of polyurethane on random parquetry floors. The only suggestion of depth comes from blunt, rudimentary shadows. Decorative motifs—a flowering bramble and a neutered, effluvial torso—recur as out-of-scale heraldic devices. The ostensible subject matter (Pool, Waterfall, Clearing, Riverbed, to cite but a few) is rendered in the clunky faux-naif style that has been one of the Chicago School’s more enduring contributions to New Image painting. Chase’s work has all the glittering preciousness and galling vacuity of a Fitzgerald heroine.

Looking at a painting like Tide, with its great, cat’s-eye waves curling into themselves and then

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