New York

Alfred Leslie


Viewing Alfred Leslie’s recent survey of colossal grisaille paintings from 1962–67 was like entering a time warp. Yet, though these works constitute an early record of Leslie’s transition from abstraction to figuration, they are more than just historically interesting examples of post–Abstract Expressionist figuration. Indeed, their physical presence and psychological muteness continue to make a domineering impression.

Hung to suggest an arcade of caryatids, four women—three nude and one clothed—and Leslie’s own clothed self-portrait from 1966–67, towered over the viewers like giants. In all five paintings, the same essential components establish a complex interplay between a general study of the human figure and a specific portrayal of an individual. The models strike the same pose, producing a serial rhythm. Standing erect with their three-quarter figures filling all nine vertical feet

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