New York

Eva Hesse

Robert Miller, SteinGladstone

These separate exhibitions suggest the dialectic—dilemma?-—of expression and construction (seminal to Modernism, according to Theodor Adorno) that informs Eva Hesse’s art. Hesse gives each a consciously perverse, perhaps unconsciously pathological twist; expression takes on a peculiarly constructed (inhibited) look, and construction a peculiarly expressive (internally dynamic) aspect. This is hardly a reconciliation, for neither retains its validity as such.

At the Robert Miller gallery, small, intimate gouaches suggest obsessive jottings the artist made to herself, as though redundant expression could generate a sense of self. However, each individual gouache, all too conscientiously unresolved, does not so much evoke a sense of self as suggest an aborted embryo of one. It is as though Hesse were struggling to abandon herself to self-expression, but could not help asserting a self-contained

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