new-york

Andrew Spence

Barbara Toll Fine Arts

For their sense of wholeness and resolution, Andrew Spence’s paintings are indebted to the work of the late John McLaughlin; Spence’s receptiveness to naturalist influences, both architectural and organic, recalls Ellsworth Kelly. All three artists, Spence most literally of all, understand abstraction to be abstracted from something else, to constitute some kind of parallel, plastic essence to reality.

Only one of the eight canvases here, most from 1983, builds from the eccentric biomorphism of last year’s paintings. Though as a group I found the latter overly quirky, hence almost illegible, their feelings of motion continue to inform this most recent work and impart a welcome bounce to the imagery. 83.2, my preferred painting, happened to be this direct descendant of the earlier pieces. A drab olive rectangle, its right side canted, is animated by three concentric white curves joined at

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