new-york

Deborah Kass

Baskerville + Watson

Deborah Kass’ first solo exhibition in New York was a strong one. Landscape has been her subject for as long as she has been painting, or over 10 years, and her very methodical progress, like the salmon’s, has followed an upstream trajectory, against the current and ever closer to her source. To simplify things, let us say that it is Marsden Hartley who turns out to be standing there.

This was not always evident. In 1973, for instance, Kass made a painting, The Death of Ophelia, After Delacroix, whose literary theme, art-historical reference, and lyrical, almost neoclassical feeling suggest work by some of Europe’s more effete contemporary artists such as Carlo Maria Mariani or Gérard Garouste. Despite its central figure, however, this painting is a marshy landscape, and most of Kass’ pieces from that time—forest scenes, barnyards with cows—are engagingly direct, naturalistic in a relaxed

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