New York

Barbara Kassel

Davidson Gallery

At first glance, Barbara Kassel’s work seems to have little in common with current art practice and its means of addressing the problem of subjectivity. Making no appeal to the effects of mass-media culture and its fetishization of the codes of reproduction, it refers instead to much older European traditions, in which narrative painting is intimately bound to an architectural context. The form of the work is reminiscent of the modest trecento or early quattrocento predella, more often than not encountered in museums as an object orphaned from its parent altarpiece. In addition to relatively straightforward interiors and landscapes, Kassel’s oil-on-canvas diptychs and triptychs contain those basic elements one might expect to find in a panel depicting a scene from the life of the Virgin—the monastic interior of a simple architectural structure in a landscape setting.

In this case, however,

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