New York

Eric Fischl

Mary Boone Gallery | Chelsea

The most interesting aspects of an Eric Fischl painting are more often social and psychological than derived from any unusual formal resourcefulness or skill of the hand. In his preparatory studies and works on paper, Fischl’s brushwork can be absorbing, but in his big pictures it is usually only serviceable and sturdy; and as for his visual constructs, they work just fine when serviceable and sturdy, but he seems to like them enough to draw attention to them with multipanel contraptions and exaggerated perspectival surprises. The best of these works supply a sense of panoramic social overview in which all the parts adjust and complement each others’ meanings. It also happens, though, that Fischl ends up on the wrong side of the line between invention and contrivance.

One might have expected, however, a certain focus and seriousness from Fischl’s recent exhibition, for the artist’s catalogue

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