New York

Michael Jenkins

Jay Gorney Modern Art

One of the drawings in Michael Jenkins’ recent show is a kind of prisoner’s diary. Groups of marks, consisting of four verticals and a canceling fifth, cover roughly the upper two-thirds of a sheet of paper, suggesting a sentence commuted or in some way cut short. Or perhaps someone simply got fed up with marking time. The marks, like virtually everything in this show, were realized in Jenkins’ signature high-key yellow. Yellow signifies quarantine and the isolation of disease, but it is also associated with sensationalism, with emotive exploitation. At the end of the last century, the color was appropriated by those who wished to invert this symbolism. Though deliberately titled as a reference to cheap French novels, Aubrey Beardsley’s Yellow Book, 1894–96, presented an estheticized decadence very different from the brand suggested by the title. Similarly, Jenkins turns our expectations

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