New York

Jackie Winsor

As before, in Jackie Winsor’s 1982 exhibit at this gallery, this show inventoried five cubes and one sphere. Although the details of these shapes are quite different from those shown earlier, the preciseness of this repetition argues an intentional redundancy on Winsor’s part, an idea supported by her choice to incorporate mirrored glass. In association with the cubes, the mirrors inevitably recall Robert Morris and Donald Judd. They are more directly related to the latter’s work, yet Judd has never seemed anxious to break out of the Minimalist bind (perhaps because he never viewed it as incarceration), whereas Winsor’s earlier exploded boxes (1981–82) certainly connoted do-or-die escape.

Perhaps it was a failed escape, seeing as how we’re still inside the box, with new implications of infinite deferral seen not only in the spatial regression caused by the mirrors, but in the layers of materials repressed—for instance, the cheesecloth under the glass lining the interior of Pink and Blue Glass Piece, 1985, visible only in gleaming hints, “darkly” Furthermore, when the light and angle of view allow these interior elements to be seen, they are revealed in an L shape that echoes the work’s silhouette, one of many elisions of inside and outside. This application of Josef Albers’ technique of using lattices, screens, and glass backed with other materials fulfills Albers’ hope to make seeing “insecure.” All sorts of interesting perceptual twists engage and sometimes confound the viewer. In the mirrored Pink and Blue Glass Piece one’s own face stares back from behind bars; or, in Green Layered Glass Piece, 1986, the habitual action of centering one’s head in the mirror is rewarded with the perception of a black hole in its stead. Alices through the looking glass, we grope for points of reference.

Demonstrating the results of introversion and extroversion, Winsor’s boxes have the opacity of people, by turns simple on the outside but mysterious and complex on the inside, or devastatingly simple within despite intricate façades. Yet, rhyming and chorusing, they show the truth of reversion to types. They seem to underscore a belief that until we are gone we are here, where everything is the same but never dependable, different but never new.

Jeanne Silverthorne