New York

John Willenbecher

Hamilton Gallery

John Willenbecher continues to intensify the iconic dimension of his vision. This show develops to new expressive heights the insights into the symbiotic relationship between archetypal forms and contents found in the 1981 series “Laureate” (reviewed in Artforum in April 1982).

The majority of the works on view consisted of mixed-media relief paintings. Named after the persons and places of, Greek mythology—Apollo, Zeus, and Olympus are examples—each boasts surfaces painted to simulate marble, and one or more gold-leafed objects symbolic of the subject. In Apollo, a vertically disposed diptych, a gold-leafed tubular form bringing to mind the frame of a lyre is hung against a pair of “marbled” panels from two wooden pegs. The effect is confrontational and affective; the larger-than-life “marble” surface, streaked with luminous trompe l’oeil patterns, shimmers and glows. At the same time,

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