new-york

Alex Katz

Pace Wildenstein

The large-scale landscape and flower paintings in Alex Katz’s recent exhibition are luminous paeans both to painterly gesture and to elementary color and form. A few of the landscapes might even pass for abstractions: Green Shadows, 2001, is mostly a furious scumble of dark brushwork; a handful of diminutive yellow flowers at the bottom of the canvas is the only obviously representational passage. In Road, 2002, an initial uncertainty as to what’s being represented resolves as you’re engulfed by the work: It’s two shafts of dappled sunlight bisecting a dark lane, conjuring depth of field seemingly without effort. Here, as elsewhere, Katz’s painterly language is visceral and sure: Blacks, grays, and yellows are crisply differentiated by the artist’s always deft, muscular brushwork. Katz has referred to his landscapes as “environmental” for the way they can visually envelop a viewer; indeed,

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