Friday, April 10th, 2009

Fran O’Neil at John Davis Gallery

Fran O'Neil, Reel, 2009. Oil on canvas, 74 x 60 inches

Fran O'Neil, Reel, 2009. Oil on canvas, 74 x 60 inches

Fran O’Neill, subject of her second solo show at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, New York, was a recent recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant.  Her latest series is a breakthrough: these sumptuous, all-over abstractions built of mind-bogglingly intricate details are oceanic in their fusion of decorative and labor intensity.  Like the ocean, there is slow evolution and constant undulation.  The little teeth-like tessarae in Reel are negative shapes, revealing the white ground of the canvas exposed from the painstakingly filled-in spaces between.  The impact is somewhere between the aboriginal painting of O’Neill’s native Australia and Gustav Klimt.  Mitchell, one feels, would have approved.

This was an artcritical CAPSULE in April 2009.


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