New York

Abby Shahn

Midtown Galleries

In this show of recent paintings, Abby Shahn succeeds in reinventing the grid, which is no mean feat. Using primarily the vivid medium of egg tempera on paper, she turns the gridfrom a symbol of Minimalism and the reductive impulse in abstraction into a metaphor of sensualism and the exuberant tendency also implicit in abstraction. However, the exuberant side of abstraction is the very one that many artists have sought to tame, particularly those with a theoretical or conceptual bent, from Mondrian and Malevich to Sol LeWitt. Without sacrificing either the fundamental rigor of geometry or the elemental harmony of structure, Shahn offers a vision of abstraction that is breathtaking in the freedom of opportunity it represents.

Ice Out, 1985, a very large wall-size diptych, is a tour-de-force display of Shahn’s talent for constructing images with multiple layers of meaning. The two panels are

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 receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 1987 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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