New York

Ross Bleckner

Mary Boone Gallery

For all their air of spiritual brooding, these paintings seem rather weak-willed after what I’ve been looking at lately. The Nazi black—properly brazen in Troy Brauntuch’s work—fades into a dusky white; many of the works are deliberately mired in between, caught in a quicksand of refined tonality. The work as a whole is subtle and timid, suggesting a castrated James McNeill Whistler-like sensibility. Bleckner uses a kind of stippling technique to freshly articulate surface/depth tension, an effect enhanced by the trend toward monochromicity in his paintings. The same technique is used to articulate an abstraction/illusion tension, the stippling working as a double formalist entendre. The small-scale works hold up well, for the means conform to the fashionable. Bleckner reveals all the dumbness of “smart,” “fine” art. His work is evidence for what is increasingly clear: that “disinterested”

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