new-york

Janice Krasnow

Jose Freire

The neutral “look” of first-generation text-based Conceptual art may today seem as stylized, even stylish, as a Chanel dress. In her first one-person show, Janice Krasnow presented a revival of the classic Conceptualist sign, black text on white ground, in modest paintings that brought home the fact that neutrality and morphology are contradictory terms. In place of the Conceptualist’s decidedly serious and philosophical bent, however, Krasnow opted for a tone both offbeat and poetic. Her concise descriptions of subjects that nevertheless fail to take form in the viewer’s imagination address the inadequacy of artistic mimesis—the mystery and beauty that exceed it.

In “Portraits,” 1994–96, Krasnow strikes a tenuous balance between the materiality of graphic language and the attendant ambiguities of its reading. For example, one painting, which reads “Very pale creamy/beige body,” could

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