New York

Mary Heilmann

Pat Hearn Gallery

For Mary Heilmann formalism is less a prison than a resort—a space so well defined that it admits a measure of free play within its precincts. One painting, entitled Sunshine, 1991, consists of a moderately scaled sunflower-yellow rectangle whitewashed with transparent layers of mat white. That this work recalls the obfuscation of the sun by constantly shifting clouds is characteristic of Heilmann’s ability to coax a range of vivid sensations from the dryest painterly conventions (in this case the grid).

In this show, the viewer is routed through a taxonomy of abstract types: the grid, the flagstone pattern, the constructivist image, the stripe, and the shaped canvas. There are more paintings here than one is accustomed to seeing in a single show; some are paired (#1 For Pasolini, 1990, and Sunshine), some are hung high above the viewer (Black Cracky, 1990), and some look as if they are

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