new-york

Jennifer Kobylarz

Edward Thorp Gallery

In paintings that bring to mind Stuart Davis, Matisse cutouts, and ’50s bachelor-pad ambience, Jenifer Kobylarz takes a recurring motif (a sort of anthropomorphic fern) through a series of punning transformations, stretching, layering, or otherwise mutating the subject into a variety of images (spinal column, zipper, chainsaw, piano keys) that nevertheless manage to retain the fern’s segmented structure. Varying in composition from bold and heraldic to busy and allover, some of the pieces explore the interplay of figure and ground—for example, Red Spine, 1995, can be read as either a rib cage or a pair of exaggerated cock’s combs—while others create quasi-Cubist passages of intersecting shapes.

Kobylarz keeps her surfaces lean without being skimpy. The care with which she applies smooth layers of oil paint contributes to the peculiar sense of frozen motion in the paintings: her shapes exist

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