new-york

Helmut Federle, Ferner G, 2012, vegetable oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 15 3/4".

Helmut Federle

Peter Blum Gallery

Helmut Federle, Ferner G, 2012, vegetable oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 15 3/4".

Once again working in series, as he did for his last show at this gallery, in 2009–10, the Swiss artist Helmut Federle has produced a still more refined and concentrated group of paintings than he did then. As in those earlier works, whose overlapping planes admit a pentagonal shape toward the center of each picture, Federle is working with a single geometric form, this time a circle. But he has eliminated almost all color, and in fact has largely eliminated paint: The medium of most of the new works is no more than vegetable oil applied to unprimed canvas. To the extent that there is color, it is the pale brown of the cloth, which does no more than darken in the areas stained with oil. The phrase “no more than,” though, falls short of justice, for it doesn’t reflect the subtlety of the ways and degrees of darkening that distinguish the works’ circles from their surround. Nor is

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