Bill Jensen

Washburn Gallery

In what sense is Bill Jensen’s work a “throwback”? Instead of praising Jensen’s paintings, advocates of the work of Albert Pinkham Ryder, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and Georgia O’Keeffe, of which Jensen’s work has been termed a revival, would conspire to bury it. True, Jensen has burrowed down under the site of their art, content never to break through to open, revitalizing air. Note Ancestors, 1984–85, wherein a disrupted mystical hexagram blooms under a mound covered with crosses, fully flowered and with no ambition to see the sun or stars. Thematically, too, Jensen’s vision of the earth, like that of his predecessors, is one of saurian weariness and encumberment, especially in a painting like Hunger, 1984–85. Under its burden of peaks and valleys, the earth, like a scaly, primitive life form, lumbers across (or invents) the horizon of these canvases. With its usually barbed perimeter

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.