New York

Janis Provisor

Holly Solomon Gallery

The main inspiration for Janis Provisor’s recent paintings and works on paper is her fascination with the rocky terrain of Colorado, where she recently settled. In several examples massive structures reminiscent of monumental calcified cliffs appear, while other shapes bring to mind boulders and flora typical of the Southwest. Working in large scale, in oil and metal leaf, Provisor sounds an intriguing iconic note in these landscapes; big enough physically to seem to invite entry, they nevertheless signal viewers to keep their distance. For while the rich, densely textured surfaces serve as a sensual come-on, the curiously flattened perspective and the top-heaviness of the vertical compositions push the images toward abstraction, removing and distancing them from the viewer.

In Let It Be, 1984, stony forms colored a brilliant gray seem to emerge from the depths of dark shadows. The tactile treatment of the forms heightens their expressive impact, and the gestural rendering of contours underscores their fantastic quality. Color is used lyrically to bring out a dramatic, confrontational element. The heaven-blue strip of sky surrounding the top of the dominant gray formation, and the work’s title, invite contemplation of the painting’s possible metaphorical implications. Is Genesis the subject of Let It Be? Does the imagery represent the dawn of creation? Perhaps, perhaps not—Provisor leaves the interpretation up to the viewer. It seems she prefers to celebrate rather than to reveal the cosmic mysteries lurking in these landscapes.

Ronny Cohen