New York

Helmut Dorner

Brooke Alexander

Helmut Dorner’s work is post-Modern painting at its most masterful and convincing: an ironic, hybrid reprise of Modernist modes handled as measured nuances. The uncanny urgency that seems to lie just beneath the lacquer-slick surfaces suggests a smothered eruption or the threat of explosion. In Dorner’s work, appropriation has just the right touch of anxiety, of uncertainty within knowing self-consciousness. He has mastered Modernist formalism in all its preciousness, yet rendered it with a staccato syntax that makes it seem fresh and irksome, and somehow no longer quite Modern. The result is ingeniously resonant painting, whose esthetic appeal lies far from the sterile beauty of so much post-Modern painting, indeed beyond the false beacons of beauty and ugliness. Dorner has given painting a genuine future that neither denies what has been nor blindly endorses it. He has opened a new

Sign-in to keep reading

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

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

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

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 1994 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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