new-york

Elliott Puckette

Kasmin | 293 Tenth Avenue

The word “decorative” has carried a pejorative connotation in criticism ever since Clement Greenberg. What makes Elliott Puckette’s paintings interesting is that, rather than integrate the decorative in a larger expressive purpose, the artist finds expressive purpose within the decorative itself. Her meandering lines, which at times scroll baroquelyincised with a razor, they recall the elaborate linear fantasies that Albrecht Dürer inscribed in the margins of his unfinished prayer book for Maximilian Icommunicate excitement, perhaps because they lead nowhere in particular, even as their curves evoke the female body. They bring to mind the scrambled contours of an odalisque, fragments of an intricate idea of the feminine.

Puckette’s washy, drippy surfaceswhich, in their own way, brood on the voidhave a similar erotic nervousness. Her decorative conveys a desire unsure of yet excited by

Sign-in to keep reading

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

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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