New York

Adrian Morris, Bunkhouse, ca. 1985, oil on board, 35 7⁄8 × 42 1⁄8".

Adrian Morris, Bunkhouse, ca. 1985, oil on board, 35 7⁄8 × 42 1⁄8".

Adrian Morris

Essex Street

Three paintings of mullioned windows, precisely rendered but curiously off-kilter, hung in a row at Essex Street as part of the late British artist Adrian Morris’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Behind the imaginary glass there was nothing to see but a dim gray haze. The modernist grid and the Symbolist window (the former, per Rosalind Krauss’s influential reading, a traumatic displacement of the latter) were here collapsed, their metaphysics stunted by the opaque, abortive view. In Window Ledge II and Window Sill II, both ca. 1997, fenestration was party to a ruthless abstraction of architectural space, with apertures giving way to implacable corners and unfathomable cavities. Their indeterminacy is reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s most recalcitrant, radically unresolved views of Paris and Tangier, their hardness a reminder of Georgia O’Keeffe’s anti-picturesque renditions of

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