New York

Ellen Phelan

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery

In the early ’80s, Ellen Phelan was known for large paintings that played on a tension between abstract markmaking and the representation of landscape, in which rectangular cuts through the surface opened up to the wall behind. Later Phelan began showing smaller, rather eerie portraits of dolls—real ones from her own collection, apparently. At the time these works seemed an odd sidetrack from the more expansive and physically straightforward landscape abstractions. In retrospect these more personal works turn out to have been the more forward-looking, anticipating something of the blatant psychological quality pervading the representational painting that emerged in the early ’90s in the canvases of, say, Maureen Gallace and Lisa Yuskavage.

Phelan’s new works are modest still lifes of flowers. They are basically monochromes, oil on linen or watercolor and gouache on paper. With proportions

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 May 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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