New York

Andrew Young

David Beitzel Gallery

Andrew Young’s paintings are full of fascinating surface and color. Decorative and ancient looking, gestural and still, glazed and eruptive, organic and chemical, they’re all about formal elegance and painterly poise. Indeed, both his handling and his palette (saffron, licorice, burnt orange, and cinnamon) are so sophisticated as to seem almost jaded.

How odd, to encounter abstractions reminiscent of Robert Motherwell, preserved under layers of faux-quattrocento glaze. Odder still when one considers the way these paintings meld abstract imagery with representational elements reminiscent of art-nouveau motifs: windowsills, flowerpots, rosebuds, and keyholes. A decorative border is interrupted by a wild splotch, an archway violated by a brush stroke. It’s to Young’s credit that these paintings don’t seem hodgepodge, that, on the contrary, they are flat-out elegant.

But what does it all mean?

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