New York

Judith Dolnick

Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery

Working with an organic vocabulary of colorful forms that she sends spinning across her canvases, Judith Dolnick reveals herself to be an action painter in the deepest sense of this term. The vision she offers is thoroughly in tune with the dynamism that is paramount in nature and that has been significant in so much 20th-century art. The paintings impress as paeans to this dynamic force by virtue of the tremendously evocative force they carry within themselves. That force is produced by the interactions among the highly integrated structures in her compositions, which, far from appearing planned or calculated, seem—much to Dolnick’s credit—to have an aura of freedom and abandonment about them. It is released not in a single explosive spurt but in gentle waves that build to a crest of excitement, as the eye travels across the surface of each composition.

By not giving any specific titles to the works, Dolnick encourages her audience to come to visual terms with her paintings without the aid of any overtly literary references. This is not to say that these paintings can or should be taken as strictly formal creations. Rather, their enchantment lies in their very openness. Untitled, 1987 (52 by 108 inches), the largest painting in the show, invites an array of associations, dominated perhaps by thoughts about heaven and the notion of universal growth. Both of these readings are brought to mind by the rhythmic interplay of color and shape, the former sparked by the puffy edges of some of the forms, which have a cloudlike lightness about them, and the latter prompted by the way in which certain rounded configurations are echoed throughout the composition.

Dolnick alternates dense passages that are crowded with forms of various shapes and sizes with airy intervals of ground. This is why the surfaces of several of the paintings—such as Untitled, 1987 (35 by 70 inches), and Untitled, 1987 (17 by 20 inches)—seem to breathe; they provide a striking demonstration of Dolnick’s ability to animate pictorial space.

Ronny Cohen