New York

Joseph Raffael

Nancy Hoffman Gallery

If the future of art is beauty (beauty, as was thought in antiquity, being a form of spirit), then Joseph Raffael’s ravishing landscapes, by signaling a spiritual relationship to nature, point the way beyond the “death of painting.” In image after image, Raffael shows us that we must struggle to preserve our environment from our destructive impulses. He often depicts fragments of the blessed landscape where he lives (the Mediterranean coast of southern France) as if they were the last barrier between us and the void that lurks at the edges of these images.

In Raffael’s paintings nature is at its most lush and alive, recorded with immediacy and esthetic subtlety. These works reflect his reverential yet passionate view of familiar things—flowers, a duck swimming in a pond—the things to which we never attend in sufficient detail, never study in all their innocent complexity. Raffael does,

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