New York

Tadeusz Myslowski

Carpenter + Hochman

One word too seldom heard in cultural circles these days can serve to introduce this show of recent paintings by Tadeusz Myslowski, a Polish-born artist who has lived in New York since 1970. That word is “serious”—serious as in well considered, resolute, and significant, all of which his work is. And while many artists claim it, Myslowski actually has succeeded in pushing abstraction forward into a new representational frontier, where form is truly content.

His means are paradoxically complex in their purity. In all of the works a single form—a black cross, a motif favored by Myslowski for the last decade —and a single basic structure, a modular grid whose dimensions vary according to how many three-foot-square steel plates are employed, are used repetitively. Each plate is painted in enamel on a white ground, fired, and placed within the grid. Far from being dry and brittle, the surfaces sparkle, and they impress one as some sort of transparent skin that is at once a protective layer for the life force of the image and its public showcase. The images are themselves containers for an array of ideas and feelings; despite Myslowski’s emphasis on a single form, each configuration of crosses is highly individualistic and vital. One might say that on a psychic level all of Myslowski’s compositions have more to them, and in them, than at first meets the eye. The numerous perspective points and scales used in their construction communicates a strong sense of movement or force. In their articulation of this quality of movement the images suggest a sublimated content. For example, in New York Composite 3, 1986, the image appears to explode outward from the bottom of the frame by dint of the combative overlapping arrangement of the crosses, releasing in the viewer a train of thoughts on the subject of conflict. However, with New York Composite 4, 1986, one’s thoughts take a decidedly spiritual tack, as the spatial tensions built into the faceted, mirrorlike structure of the image seem to define an iconic infinity.

Ronny Cohen