New York

Stephen Ellis

Elizabeth Koury Gallery

In his recent show, Stephen Ellis’ spare abstractions evoked various states of architectural and photographic decay, creating illogical spaces and surfaces that sometimes resembled images degraded into abstraction by excessive replication. Allying precision with imaginary structures the paintings were reminiscent of Piranesi’s severe and fantastic prison architecture, which Ellis admires. Like clear prose that astonishingly contains a complex story, his compositions revealed through loss, mirrorings, and duplication an underlying dissemblance.

In all five paintings Ellis used a limited range of subdued, carefully graded, often earthy tones. Creating a kind of mute friction between chaotic brushwork, carefully ruled lines, and strips of color, his works at one moment read as bloodless patterning, and in the next recall interior and exterior spaces, evoking materials like brick, wood, and

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.