new-york

Christopher Le Brun

Sperone Westwater

Christopher Le Brun continues his pursuit of the elusive, almost as an end in itself. The sense of mystery that pervades his work is the residue of—and perhaps an attempt to revive—that sense of “tragic insight” which Friedrich Nietzsche regarded as “the most beautiful luxury of our culture.” In his paintings, Le Brun combines an iconography of isolation with a muted sensual surface, less important for its assertive painterly quality than for its seductive atmospheric one; it bears some resemblance to Monet’s elusive continuum of surface. There is a sense of restrained fullness in this surface, which makes the object embedded in it—yet also thrust onto it, as if the crust of some barely contained passion—seem all the more haunting. I used to think that the specificity of the object was important for Le Brun—that it mattered whether it was a horse or wreath, each imbued with its particular

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