New York

James Nares

Paul Kasmin Gallery (511)

James Nares’ recent abstract paintings would never lead one to suspect that he not only has behind him a body of impressively quirky figurative paintings, but that he has also worked in media as diverse as super-8 film, photography, and music (in the ’70s he was a guitarist for the Contortions). Indeed, it is unusual for an artist of such diverse orientations to become entrenched in a practice that usually attracts die-hard lifers.

In Nares’ recent paintings the constituent brush stroke becomes the image—the means, the end. Over a luminous, even, white field, textured or tinted only by an occasional overpainted drip or partially concealed brush stroke, Nares applies no more than five discrete colored strokes, limiting his palette to gray, ocher, indigo, and umber. Working with brushes he designs himself, he creates elegant gestures cleanly separated from the ground and from each other.

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