New York

Stephen Ellis

Andre Emmerich Gallery

Stephen Ellis’ recent abstractions recall the work of several other painters of his generation, most strikingly that of David Reed, whose vaguely futuristic color fields are also composed of alkyd and oil, and, like Ellis’, stage lavish quotations of AbEx gestural moves in the form of serpentine swaths of color.

Beyond these similarities, though, the distinctions between the two may be more revealing. Ellis’ palette is often warm, even hot, while Reed’s is for the most part cool. And where Reed’s serpents of color are given large panels in which to move, Ellis’ are crosshatched and scored by rakes of the palette knife: the overall effect is of Reed’s abstractions plummeting down an elevator shaft.

Referencing “screens” has become second nature for abstraction of late, and taking in Ellis’ new works, it was hard not to think of film and television (a connection encouraged in the press release,

to keep reading

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

Not registered for 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 May 1996 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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