New York

Leslie Wayne

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 20th Street

Last year, Leslie Wayne curated a group show with the demurely categorical title of “Painters,” placing her own work in the company of paintings by artists such as Milton Resnick and Jake Berthot, among other, less-well-known cultists of the hand. If that’s really what she means by “painter,” however, then she’d best find a more pertinent rubric for herself. I’m reminded instead of what Cézanne is supposed to have called Courbet: “A builder. A crude mixer of plaster. A pulverizer of tones. He masoned like a Roman.” Wayne is capable of treating paint with great delicacy, as the brooding atmospherics of Red Rain, 1992, attest. But in paintings like Freefall, 1992, or Breathing, 1993, it is treated very much as physical stuff to be thrashed, twisted, and displaced while still in a semifluid state, and these pieces are most typical of her work.

So it’s clear that despite the work’s diminutive

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