New York

Joseph Amar

Bess Cutler Gallery

There is a small and selective following for the work of Joseph Amar, the kind of viewership that anxiously awaits each new occasion to observe the latest increment in a carefully measured practice. Amar's approach to painting is quiet and ruminative, almost languid, developing a precisely determined pictorial program and avoiding sharp changes and “major statements.” Much has been made of his relationship to Minimalism, but he lacks Minimalism's obduracy and its focus on specific objects in space. Instead, the issues relevant to Amar's paintings are restraint, refinement, and the capacity of the wall-bound work to arrest the perceptions of the reflective viewer.

Most of the eight works that were shown here (all untitled, all from 1987) are simple rectilinear shapes, crafted through Amar's now-characteristic manner of surfacing lead over plywood forms of differing depths. These surfaces

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