New York

Stanley Boxer

André Emmerich Gallery

In his paintings, Stanley Boxer addresses issues of pictorial and painterly tradition, more so than most of the artists who have worked with formalist color abstraction. He creates multi-leveled spaces comprising amorphous patterns of sensitively coordinated colors and textures, which offer an illusionistic panoply of shifting focal points.The transitory energy of these layered forms is resolved by simpler, more repetitive linear configurations that occur intermittently at the edges of his paintings; and it reinforces a sense of the flat picture plane. However, Boxer’s attention to the materialistic and fragmented quality of painterly effect encourages an awareness of the works’ various transitions of color and surface. The paintings subtlety undermine any overall pictorial or formal unity. In this manner, they deny the viewer any ideal pictorial distance or point of view. Rather, their aleatory spatial motion creates conundrums that challenge both pictorial and abstract formalist conventions.

Although Boxer’s paintings remain uncompromisingly nonillusionistic, the space they generate is relaxed and vast, often suggesting a naturalistic scale that is, alternatively, expansively baroque and hermetically expressionistic. This spatial ambiguity recurs in works in which transitions between the literal applied scale of painterly surface and accrued levels of implied fragmented space freely associate without breaking apart. In Shimmer-soflaramie, 1988, an abrupt horizontal division at mid-point configures a windowlike split that functions as a formalist incursion into nonliteral pictorial space. The painting’s incongruous territories run together as effortlessly as the visually onomatopoetic title. For Boxer, the spatial relationships of form and scale proceed from an instinctive use of color. His work maintains a freedom that demands stringent discipline.

Ray Kass