new-york

Ruth Root, Untitled, 2014–15, fabric, Plexiglas, enamel paint, spray paint, 84 1/2 × 67".

Ruth Root

Andrew Kreps Gallery

Ruth Root, Untitled, 2014–15, fabric, Plexiglas, enamel paint, spray paint, 84 1/2 × 67".

What makes an abstract painting interesting today? Ruth Root’s series of seven works, each Untitled and dated 2014–15, each unique and yet sharing vivid formal correspondences with its neighbors on the wall, provided an exhilarating answer. For starters, an interesting painting often has an eccentric shape. Root’s Plexiglas shapes are not symmetrical and are far from the golden mean. They are wonky, sometimes lean, and include bulges and unexpected curves, like maps of contested statehoods. (Not until I drew the outline of each work in my notebook did I notice the points of some corners and the softness of others.) Each was the size of something a human might sleep on. Each hung low to the ground, just a foot off the floor.

An interesting contemporary abstract painting, Root’s work argues, will probably not be a monochrome, but it might slyly incorporate broad fields of pure, glossy

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2015 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.