Dawn Mellor: A Curse on Your Walls Team Gallery until August 8 83 Grand St., between Greene and Wooster streets, 212-279-9219 The Surrealist writer André Breton once declared that beauty would have to become convulsive, otherwise it would cease to be. As if in late vindication of this injunction, the paintings of Dawn Mellor set…
There is a weird sense of a form searing its way through the canvas, from left to right, an accumulation of atomic energy boiling up the space it penetrates, making it a Monet for the nuclear age. It almost becomes tempting to read the image in cartoon-like graphic terms, or like a Futurist depiction of movement.
The motifs of her seven paintings and four drawings are diverse to the point of perversity, suggesting the kind of mind drawn less to things than problems. What is consistent across these images is the sense of a fanatical empiricist picking quarrels with the perceived world.
Hilary Harkness shares with Sade not just the pathology to which the Marquis lent his name but also an essential element of style — endless variation, at once exhilerating and enervating, upon an obsessive theme.
Neo Rauch is a prodigious talent. His canvases are lush with painterly dexterity, compelling characterization, and compositional intrigue. But, as with Walton Ford’s animal portraits, there is more about these costume dramas that transports viewers back to the amalgamated past they never knew — the very definition of nostalgia — than truly puts them in touch with a sense of being here and now.
Even an astute connoisseur would be hard pressed to locate specific Nozkowskian tropes. There are some recurring motifs, but internal scale, texture, and mood present themselves in different coordinates. This is the more remarkable because Mr. Nozkowski’s modus operandi is so prescribed in terms of scale, medium, taste, and authentic touch.
The experience in this richly diverse exhibition is not of transition so much as consolidation: the new works, whether big loopy abstractions in fat confident brushstrokes or weirdo figuration, seem legitimate outgrowths of the precious, tight, miniaturist Siena of old.
Regardless of the medium he works in, Johns’s busy, agile yet weirdly reticent hand presents an oxymoronic mix of attributes, being at once tentative and emphatic.