New York

Keith Milow

Annina Nosei Gallery

At least since Van Gogh, there’s been a paradox in our reading of the piling up of paint. The thicker the surface, the less it seems to count as surface; the more strictly physical the surface seems—the less it carries the burden of representational use—the more susceptible it seems to being read as an expressive sign, the victim of our projections. Painting long ago became a suggestive tabula rasa, a textual vacuum filled by the audience’s expectations of profound meaning. It is as if calling attention to the surface for its own sake signaled the collapse of its power as a signifier, yet made it pregnant with secret significance; it became a charged field of forces radiant with obscure yet “clearly” psychodynamic meaning.

In Keith Milow’s work this freeing of the surface is incompletely accomplished. An image intrudes, far from innocently—i.e., not as the result of sticking

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.