new-york

Stephen Rosenthal

Stark Gallery

The four paintings and four works on paper in this show would appear to represent the most attenuated evolution of lyrical abstraction. Reminiscent of a certain aspect of Cy Twombly’s work (where what Roland Barthes called “the purity of fact” is paradoxically related to “dirtying” activities), the paintings are pale, almost colorless at first glance, an approximation of the blank canvas that has been described as one of the limits of Modernist painting. Each expanse of off-white appears featureless except for a few scattered smudges or spots of equivocal color—slippery orange/pinks or green/grays, for instance—that are sometimes “whited out” to leave more of a slightly discolored scarlike nub than a trace of definite hue. Like the drawings, the paintings at first glance seem austere almost to the point of vacancy, but this impression is belied by the tactility and coloristic flavor of

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