James Bishop, Avant le jour (Before the Day), 1986, oil on canvas, 66 1/2 × 67 3/4".

James Bishop

David Zwirner | 519 West 19th Street

James Bishop, Avant le jour (Before the Day), 1986, oil on canvas, 66 1/2 × 67 3/4".

This thoughtfully selected, beautifully installed show of James Bishop’s work—his first solo exhibition in New York since 1987—opened with four small paintings, all from 2012, of the sort to which the eighty-seven-year-old artist has devoted himself exclusively since 1986: compositions in oil and crayon on modest paper supports, in this case, surfaces in the vicinity of five by four and a half inches. Three rework the same basic form, a post-and-lintel structure reduced to pale, gleaming lines within a deep-blue field. As is true within many of the bodies of work produced by the artist, variation among individual paintings is subtle, encouraging close and comparative looking: Here the scaffolding is taller and narrower, there shorter and wider; here the horizontal bar overlaps the vertical supports, there the opposite is true. Each rearrangement of these few constituent

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