new-york

Dona Nelson

Michael Klein, Inc.

Dona Nelson’s recent show of anxious, cloth-sculpted and poured-enamel abstractions was as dislocating as it was inviting. Subterranean moods bubbled up through loosely strung muslin forms, dividing and multiplying acrylic surfaces in dramatic sweeps of dead-black and green or blinding-white enamel. As the title of one piece, Greedy Winter, 1993, might suggest, Nelson’s paintings threaten to swallow themselves along with the viewer’s eye. Their odd compositions make havoc of natural order in a disjunctive combination of art and artisanship, undermining the works’ meditative beauty with anarchistic bravado.

While her canvases reflect the artist’s immersion in a mutable, private topography, like that in the nippled, almost Motherwellian Moonglow, 1993, she perversely refuses a focused center. Her apparent willingess to let the materials take her where they might struggles with the desire for

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