London

Michelle Grabner

Rocket

Michelle Grabner’s paintings are so soft and sweet, I just want to pet them.

Another kind of review might have ended rather than begun there—with a sarcastically annihilating judgment. Serious artworks are not supposed to be soft or sweet, and you’re certainly not supposed to want to pet them. Yet Grabner’s paintings are very serious, and very good. They are the work of a thoughtful, cultivated artist who is clearly well aware of the heritage of modern painting, on which she is nonetheless never abjectly dependent. Always based on the grid or some elastic variation thereof, her paintings might be said to follow in the footsteps of Agnes Martin’s luminously meditative minimalism, with its refined interplay between the grid’s blank neutrality and the understated projection of subjective feeling through the inevitable variability of repetitive handmade marks.

Unlike Martin’s, however, Grabner’s

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