New York

Michael Kessler

Jack Tilton Gallery

Michael Kessler’s first solo exhibition in New York was an auspicious debut. One quibbles with certain aspects of his paintings, but his overall level of seriousness, accomplishment, and belief in the continuing possibilities of abstraction set him apart from most artists of his generation (he recently turned 30). The artist has spent much of his life in relative isolation in rural Pennsylvania, and his highly evocative abstractions evolve from his constant contact with nature.

Kessler works in oil on modest-sized pieces of Masonite. All the paintings here also incorporate a heavily worked wood frame as an integral part of the composition; sometimes the device succeeds wonderfully, as when snakelike forms seem to leap from the painting onto the frame, but elsewhere it seems like an unnecessary mannerism. Kessler’s paintings can be divided into two groups: in one, telluric images and motifs

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