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…
This is Jess in a nutshell: sincere literalism colliding with arch semiotics and giving off rare alchemical heat.
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.
Wonder World is built of hard steel rods, bars and sheet steel that interact with somewhat more malleable slabs and blocks of concrete and rock board. The whole is tough, hard, aggressive and muscular—yet also slender, graceful, sensitive and wise.
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.
The author celebrates the audacious, austere, muscular canvases by the 90 year old veteran of Abstract Expressionism.
Much of the imagery seems star-struck; viewers have the feeling that they are looking at a kind of intimate astronomy, in which planets and galaxies move about as they build centers of energy. Scratches on the paper add the slightest sense of relief, giving the picture its hard-to-recognize yet palpable sense of depth.
Heinemann’s intensity, always apparent in his incisive, schematized shapes and hues, now describe with awkward purposefulness the trappings of rustic life: still lifes of dry good scales, vases, and lawn ornaments, and outdoor scenes populated by bird feeders and flower gardens – and, most notably, by the cats which by turns resemble inert, furry spheres or rocketing pillows with lethal teeth.
The forms in Noland’s paintings are usually dismissed as mere devices to enable him to explore color, but the lines and shapes of these paintings have a basis in the natural world as well. They add to the feelings of harmony and serenity that these paintings project, while titles like “Via Light” and “Via Shimmer” suggest Roman roads and air mail stickers, thus ideas of travel and motion and speed.
The waterfalls promise to be impressive and quite the sensation, but they will also reveal Eliasson’s main strength – the skill to turn a generous gesture into a subjective experience, which even in a city of millions can be as personal as it will be communal.