San Francisco

Nell Sinton

Braunstein/Quay Gallery

Nell Sinton is a sensibility painter, meaning that her feelings about a specific motif are peculiar to the way she shows what she sees of it, to the paint strokes she uses; that is, she discovers what she feels by painting it. At76, she has a well-founded local reputation for painting in various modes and for making box constructions and large, intricate collages. (One of the latter—Gough Street from Fort Mason, 1985, in the present show—features an actual bite-size paint chip from the Golden Gate Bridge in its center.) That her sensibility once overreached her motifs is manifest in the fantastic whorls and striations that in earlier paintings spell vitality adrift or a subjective caprice. Only for the past three years has she used, as she says, “the landscape as a focus.” She is less sure of what that focus implies, of its sufficiency, than the East Coast counterparts her new pictures

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