New York

Polly Apfelbaum

D'Amelio Gallery

Trends in contemporary art come and go with brisk regularity, yet pushing the boundaries between painting and sculpture is a perennial fascination. Polly Apfelbaum surfs this never-breaking wave with consummate skill, making “bi-formalism” a leitmotif of her floor-bound fabric installations, which have sometimes been referred to as “fallen paintings.” For much of the past decade, this painterly allusion has been grounded in Apfelbaum’s quasi-Expressionist patterning of high-intensity color on synthetic velvet. The cartoonlike floral images that animate her most recent installations flash back to Pop art—Andy Warhol’s flower paintings come to mind—but also establish links with contemporary painting, particularly the loopy doodling style of Laura Owens.

Whether the numerous component parts of Apfelbaum’s works (their fragmentation makes them feel more theatrical than “pure” painting) are

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