New York

Tomas Schmit

Michael Werner | New York

The distance between a line and a line of words is vast, yet the semiotic flames of language regularly overleap that gulf to singe purely visual marks. Even when relatively well integrated, as in paintings by Edward Ruscha, or Jean-Michel Basquiat, words can menace the composition of which they should be but a feature among features. Or consider the best work of Jenny Holzer or Maya Lin, in which, the pictorial having been abandoned altogether, text is essentially wall-to-wall and respect for the consuming power of language amounts to ceding to it entirely.

A founding member of the Fluxus movement, Tomas Schmit indulges an apparently irrepressible impulse toward quirky, gnomic syntheses of Paul Klee, the language of Zen conundrums, scientific illustrations, ’60s-album-cover esthetic, and certain Outsider art. Overall, this show of recent drawings (his first solo exhibition in the United

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