New York

Cary Smith

Salvatore Ala Gallery

Cary Smith makes the kind of abstract painting—distilled, self-assured, historically conscientious without being mannered—that gives credence to Jürgen Habermas’ assertion that modernity, or in this case Modernism, remains “an unfinished project.” In composition, Smith’s paintings recall the ’50s (John McLaughlin, for instance) and in technique echo the ’60s (Brice Marden). Yet, they relate to the politics of meaning in a manner that reflects demands specific to the present—a time in which there is little concession to esthetic gratification—in part by resisting them. In an accompanying statement, the artist writes that in making the paintings exhibited under the collective title “In the Woods” he intended to take into account “perceptions of a continuing disintegration of our physical and emotional environment . . . to convey a sense of naturalness, space, and variation,

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