In geometric abstraction, doesn’t it seem as though the brushstrokes are either masked and tightly drawn, or loose and drippy these days? At Deborah Brown‘s new Bushwick gallery, Storefront Bushwick, carefully composed masking and layering dominate the work of Gary Peterson, Halsey Hathaway and, in the back room, Rob de Oude. The three color-loving formalists’ paintings have handsome, seductive color, hard edges and slow meticulous processes in common. The paintings are nothing if not beautiful.
At Heiner Contemporary, a relatively new gallery on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC, Chip Allen and Katherine Sable’s gloriously handmade paintings trigger a more visceral response. Both painters ride the line between chance and control, Allen imposing painting parameters and Sable professing an interest in masculine/feminine dialogue (which, btw, I don’t see in the work, but I love her Mary Heilmann-esque patterns nonetheless). The first time I drove by and saw one of Sable’s big pieces in the gallery’s window I nearly caused a multi-car pile up. The third painter in the Heiner show, Camilo Sanín, is engaged with precisely rendered lines and vibrantly-colored, rectangular shapes that would probably feel more at home with Peterson and Hathaway, but his work is an interesting counterpoint to Sable and Allen’s more instinctual approach. All in all, a good, solid start for abstraction in 2012.
“Halsey Hathaway and Gary Peterson,” Storefront Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Through February 5, 2012. In the back room: paintings by Rob de Oude.
“In Line/Out of Line,” Heiner Contemporary, Washington, DC. Through January 14, 2012.
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