Nora Griffin at Louis B. James
In the brief interview with painter Peter Gallo that forms the catalog text of her solo exhibition at Louis B. James Gallery, Nora Griffin defines modernism in quirky, poetic terms that befit her winningly idiosyncratic compositions. “I think of modernism as a sensibility that conjoins the emotional inner world to the world of culture,” she says, and goes on to argue that abstraction “was invented to give form to this new sensibility.” It is a “look” that she finds in the eyes of Manet’s portrait of Berthe Morisot. Androgynized transcriptions of Manet faces pop up with some frequency around the show, sunk amidst provisionally executed yet art historically informed stylized grounds. Her paintings feel strangely poised between studio wall notations or scrapbook entries, on the one hand, and big statements about gesture, field and color, on the other. An attitude of studied nonchalance pervades, a throwaway formalism, a hard-won lightness of spirit.