New York

“An Australian Accent”

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

This show of works by three Australian painters not seen in this country before was right on the issues of the moment; it made one wonder how much intelligent and mature international painting goes relatively unseen here. The post-Modern concern with mediating surface and depth—terms that can be applied to both painted space and the sense of self—is a basic and well-understood ingredient of much of this art. Mike Parr’s large horizontal works on paper address the dilemma directly. Each features on its left side a representational charcoal self-portrait of the artist in a reifying context of deep space; this context is strangely torqued and tested, however, and is balanced on the right by an expressionistically scribbled mottling of the surface which compromises deep space, sometimes to an extreme of flatness. Parr, formerly a performance artist, incorporates performance elements into the

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