DAN FISCHER: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space,” Derek Eller Gallery, Chelsea. Through Dec. 19. Roberta Smith: Dan Fischer’s art could be called retro-appropriation. Instead of rephotographing photographs like a card-carrying postmodernist, he painstakingly converts them into graphite drawings. The compressed velvetiness and devotional air of these small works go against the grain of most postmodernism, yet except for the small patches of grid that indicate the artist’s handiwork, they can almost be mistaken for photographs. The images Mr. Fischer copies are well-known photographs of famous 20th-century artists and artworks that play off one another. ….The show’s most beautiful image is a form of continuity unto itself: a wall of Mondrian’s New York studio, where paintings, shelves and tacked-up squares of color form an irregular grid of grays so subtly modulated they might as well be colored.
“JOSEPHINE HALVORSON: Clockwise From Window,” Monya Rowe Gallery, Chelsea. Through Jan. 16. Roberta Smith: Josephine Halvorson’s small realist paintings seem to have it both ways. They neither function as windows on an illusionistic world, nor do they foster the absolute agreement of flat image and flat surface basic to, say, a Jasper Johns flag or target. Instead, Ms. Halvorson’s works — usually painted from one sitting — hold steady in the middle with closely cropped, relaxed renderings of shallow, boxed-off volumes and forms that are forthright but not so simple….Ms. Halvorson’s art adds, as yet infinitesimally but credibly, to visions of late Manet, Morandi and William Nicholson, all of whom enlivened pure painting with reality.
“JOSEPH SANTORE: Recent Work,” Lohin Geduld Gallery, Chelsea. Through Dec. 24. Ken Johnson: Why is hard to say, but a lot of interesting painting is bobbing around in today’s recessionary waters. One kind that you don’t see a lot of, however, is realism, which makes it potentially the most interesting approach just because it is so unfashionable. A case in point is the work of Joseph Santore. Exhibiting solo for the first time since 2001, Mr. Santore, 63, has evidently backed down from the kind of big-scale, awesomely ambitious painting he has favored. On canvases ranging from 6 inches square to 3 by 3 ½ feet, he has been painting still-lifes and self-portraits with a tender touch, a sharply observant eye and a spider’s patience, and without photographic aids.
Read the entire Art in Review column here.