new-york

Ira Richer

Annina Nosei Gallery

But for Richard Artschwager’s cozy Formica monuments to enigma, veneers and simulated veneers have had little play in recent art. This is curious, not only because they are among the most ubiquitous and forthright of contemporary materials, but also since photographically imprinted laminates so succinctly embody questions of illusionism central to Modern art. What device evokes such questions better than that of a plastic-coated reproduction of wood layered over real wood? As all but one of this show’s eight large constructions from 1983 in this genre showed, Ira Richer understands the inherent possibilities of the media, and a good deal more about picture-making. Similarities of scale and a taste for constructed paintings recall Donald Sultan’s work, but whereas Sultan’s style can be thought of as an aggregation of drawing techniques in search of the pictorial, Richer’s veneer-covered

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