New York

Miquel Barcelo

Leo Castelli Gallery

Miguel Barcelo displayed a number of sketchbooks and drawings made on an extended trip through Africa in 1988; a dozen paintings, made upon his return to Paris, were also on exhibit. The self-absorption of some of his earlier work has apparently been mitigated by his travels; where once he had tended towards a romanticism that put himself and his work and habits at the center of attention, this body of work contains little evidence of self-reference. Barcelo remains a remarkable draftsman. The sketchbooks and drawings––all gouache on paper––present the spareseness and privation of the North African landscape by means of a few watery strokes that seem to tremble from the heat. Oases and ponds show up in several works, as do the long shadows of trees that appear on the dry ground. These are lovely images. Still, it’s hard not to feel uneasy at the sight of one more European artist trying to

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