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Willem de Rooij, Black to Black, 2011, cotton thread, acrylic thread, 53 1/8 x 110 1⁄4 x 2".

Willem de Rooij

Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

Willem de Rooij, Black to Black, 2011, cotton thread, acrylic thread, 53 1/8 x 110 1⁄4 x 2".

Although sociopolitical subtext typically lingers beneath Willem de Rooij’s works, the five weavings in “Crazy Repelled Firelight,” Friedrich Petzel’s summer show, initially invoke Frank Stella’s famous maxim, “what you see is what you see.” Monochrome or subtley gradated in color, the textiles are stretched, like canvas, over wooden frames, and thereby rehearse postwar abstract painting. But immersive transcendence is hardly their aim—rather, they dazzle, with metallic or acrylic threads that shimmer, twinkle, and flash. Such scintillations, nevertheless, are restrained, tipping the effect toward upscale luxury rather than downmarket glam.

Like any good luxury object, the weavings flaunt their superior craft. To create Silver to Gold, 2009/2011, a suite of five monochromes first shown at the Athens Biennial in 2009, de Rooij enlisted the capabilities of O. J. Van Maele, a

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