new-york

Michael Kessler

Jack Tilton Gallery

For Michael Kessler, painting is both a symbolic expression and an affirmation of self. Since the early ’80s nature has served as a source for his organic abstract vocabulary.The paintings in this recent show reveal a striking new clarity of vision. Working in a large vertical format on wooden supports, Kessler has succeeded in breathing a refreshing vitality into his images. The associations with landscape elements so prominent in the early work have become part of a broader visual vocabulary touching on complex visceral and psychological concerns. This was as much the case for Helix Patriarch (all works 1990), the most overtly landscapelike composition of the group, as for Primeval Alliance a work that depicts a suggestive bodylike cavity.

With Helix Patriarch the shape-in-shape configuration dominating the composition brings to mind natural geological openings and depressions. Yet any

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 1990 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.