New York

Thomas Rose

Rosa Esman Gallery

Thomas Rose reveals himself as a constructor of provocative psychological spaces in this recent group of six pieces. Installed against the wall, each large relief (the smallest measures 72 1/2 by 47 3/4 by 5 inches) mixes references to various real and ideal realms of architecture, with lively results. The piece titled it was compounded by small movements or adjustments, 1980, is telling of the artist’s approach: bringing to mind a stage set, it is rich in dramatic, intensifying relationships, both formal and emotive, among the parts. There are three main structural divisions: two large, complementary but separated, trapezoidal canvases stand upright against the wall, their diagonal edges suggesting one-point perspective—the walls of a “room,” in this architectonic relief; two low-lying trapezoidal wood shapes, again through their suggestion of perspective, can be read as a floor; and, in the center foreground, a plywood wedge leans against the gallery wall and floor. It is left raw except for unevenly drawn lines which in trompe l’oeil fashion describe a stairway, and for the addition of a miniature chair and a stick on different “steps.”

Painted on the black “floor” and on the larger trapezoids is a perspectivally askew, texturally surfaced table. The surrounding “walls” abound with painted and constructed objects, including everyday and geometrical things: hangers, a guitar, different-colored triangles, and a T-square are among them. Scattered, they look as if flying in various ascending and descending patterns through an ominous black space—sketchy, shadowlike images amid solid, specific objects; the stuff of illusion.

Ronny H. Cohen