New York

Peggy Cyphers

E. M. Donahue Gallery

The 70-by-50 inch canvases that comprised Peggy Cyphers’ most recent show were not only the largest but the most impressive of the works she has exhibited in recent years. Her intense exploration of the language of expressionism over the last decade has reached a new height in these works. Her most recent paintings combine abstraction and figuration to lyrical effect, and many of her titles suggest an allegorical dimension.

Onto a ground of gesso tinted a pale yellow, Cyphers silk-screened owls, birds, lizards, and images of women from the ’60s against a central grid, then partially painted over this imagery with acrylic, adding sand to selected areas of the picture plane. It is, in fact, the very tactility of her surfaces, the choice of materials, that lends Cyphers’ work its expressive charge. In Slay the Dragon (all works 1994–95) and Gates of the Heart, biomorphic shapes bump up against

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