new-york

Larry Rivers

Marlborough Gallery | New York

This was a delicious show, upbeat and consistent. Larry Rivers exhibited 35 new paintings from the past two years, most of them foamboard wall reliefs done by mounting cut-out chunks of images previously painted on paper or canvas, cutting the mounts to match the contours, and then reassembling the pieces. The raised areas stick out as much as six inches. They can appear even thicker, but so smooth is the flow of detail, you sometimes forget that they project at all.

The latter effect is a reverse illusion: you see a flat surface hopping with dramatic, shallow spatial shifts of the kind that most Modern painting has led you to expect. Next, you see the complex sculptural trick for what it is: a mongrel busywork construction that diverts the artist‘s graphic acuity so that it reenters the picture by the back way. Rivers‘ use of figures from photographs similarly intensifies the viewer‘s

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