New York

Bill Jensen

Washburn Gallery

Bill Jensen’s gouaches depend on centrifugal breakout from confining shape or on centripetal convergence of forces into a dense centrality. His organically derived figures, mythically primordial beyond their reference to a basic nature, spontaneously transform, as if living out a cosmic destiny. One has the sense of looking at a microcosm of some half-fathomable macrocosm, a natural object that is simultaneously a symbol of a larger nature and a being with a strange life of its own. These gouaches raise the question of mystical naturalism in a way that Avery’s landscapes never quite do. His natural objects (mussels, for example) function simultaneously as strange specimens and poetic symbols; they have the heritage of Arthur Wesley Dow and Marsden Hartley behind them but they have pulled into a smaller arena, as if to show us where nature is today, and how small a piece of it one can work

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