“Painting is not about representation,” according to Bracha L. Ettinger, but that doesn’t mean it’s about abstraction either. Her work registers the ambivalence of the image, photographic in originits way of insisting on its own presence while seemingly putting itself under erasure through a destabilizing instability of focus or refusal of clarity. The resulting sense of vagueness or veiling might recall Gerhard Richter’s famous blur, though Ettinger’s defocusing produces an effect that’s different than the one conjured by the German master, who once said, “I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information.” Ettinger’s blur, on the other hand, seems to result from a determined, if not obsessive, desire to return,
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