new-york

Rex Lau

Ruth Siegel

Rex Lau makes paintings that are what the early 20th-century avant-garde called pure plastic equivalents of the real world. His approach strongly recalls the early Modernist tradition of “abstracting nature,” with particular overtones of Cézanne and the Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla. The best of the recent paintings that were on view here are works that not only show their connectedness to art-historical sources but also reaffirm the value of personal expression.

Untitled Landscape, 1986, is a small, almost square relief painting of a scene of trees in a forest. The trees are represented by a rhythmic arrangement of conical shapes, following both Cézanne’s principle of looking for geometric form in nature and the Futurists’ concept of energizing the canvas through the use of repeated rhythm of line. Once such influences have been noted, more visceral responses to the paintings striking

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