new-york

Shirley Jaffe

Holly Solomon Gallery

This is the 60-year-old Shirley Jaffe’s first show ever, but her work looks eternally—and I don’t mean cosmetically—young. The brightness of color, the diversity of unresolved, quirky shapes on the canvas, and the tendency toward quick, succinct statement suggest a determination to remain innocent, perhaps to make a kind of sophistication or cult out of innocence. Jaffe’s pictures seem to take as their point of departure Matisse’s cutouts. Her shapes are the product of a similar process of essentialization, and her colors seem derived directly from those of Matisse, even seem to be a play on them. Beyond that, the resemblance collapses, for Jaffe’s shapes are not only militantly odd in a way Matisse’s never are, but they proliferate across the canvas, and have none of the late artist’s spatial restraint. Jaffe is more obviously decorative than Matisse, who spiritualized the decorative so

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