New York

Donald Baechler

Cheim & Read

In his most recent paintings, Donald Baechler’s visual language has become increasingly abstract and iconic. Despite his reticence about relating his work directly to his life—he’s admitted only that there might be “something vaguely autobiographical” about it—its power stems in part from its capacity to seem so deeply, even naively, personal.

In a group of new paintings, solitary black silhouettes of trees or vases of flowers stand out against a mottled silvery gray background. In Any Human Heart, 2003, a pair of underwear is visible through the paint, in a gesture emblematic of Baechler’s overall sensibility: erotically tinged, prankish, yet never obscene. Subjects are paired with their most emblematic shapes—in A Cold Proposition #2, 2003, a pine tree resembles a stylized pinecone. It’s their jug-headed similarity that allows each figure to stand out boldly and plainly, as gawky and

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