“New Abstraction”

Sidney Janis Gallery

The inference of novelty in the title of this show was misplaced. The 16 paintings, two by each of eight artists, are recent and they are abstract, but there was nothing new here, nor could there be. There were two anomalies—Jerry Zeniuk, with his multicolored, camouflagelike pictures, and Howard Smith, with thinly washed, atmospheric canvases. These aside, the painters were represented by monochrome works of varying scale (mostly large), which seem to address the question of how elementary the painted surface can be made before it forfeits significance.

Within the subgenre of allover painters Olivier Mosset posits one alternative of mechanical, “no-hands” application in a big painting of fluid, evenly put-down black enamel. By contrast, Frederic Thursz exploits the fissured buildup of viscous oil paint in his two luminous celadon paintings. In both of these artists’ work, related but

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