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Back to Reviews 97

Glow, 1996

© ArtNet Worldwide 1997

Play, 1996


Angel, 1996

Pure, 1996

Spoil, 1996

Perch, 1996

Closer, 1996

eva lundsager

at jack tilton and 
lauren wittels

by Michael Brennan

Eva Lundsager is New York City's other art-

prize winner, having received the Prix 

Whanki last year, which will be followed by 

an upcoming solo exhibition at the Whanki 

Museum in Seoul, Korea. She is also an 

exceptional painter, which can be verified 

sans committee in her current show of large 

paintings at Jack Tilton Gallery, and 

smaller paintings installed in the project 

room at Lauren Wittels Gallery across the 


Lundsager has been successfully developing 

her personal style of swampy, painterly 

abstraction for some time now, but her work 

has reached a level of intensity that is 

apparent both in her supersaturated colors 

and in the confident range and precision of 

her gestureS. These are lean, no-nonsense 

paintings, executed in an exacting manner. 

They are fuller in feeling and more 

impacted in composition than anything else 

she has produced so far. In her last show 

at Tilton in 1995, there was a gap between 

the sticky and spore-pocked shiny surfaces 

of the paintings and the petri dish 

luminosity of the works on paper. These new 

paintings sprang fully formed from that 

gap, expanding and diversifying those twin 


Full tilt, and fully rotated, paintings 

like Glow and Play contain the earthy, 

transparent broadstrokes that are 

indicative of Lundsager's new style. Dense, 

patchy strata sandwich slow-burning pink 

spots under a downward clumpy pile that is 

usually only relieved by the lighter gleam 

of a sky-white patch above, or a notch of 

drainage, flowing either up or down, 

creeping in at the mid-section. Angel is a 

particularly commanding painting with its 

oasis-like, Cyclopean eye area, advancing 

out of a raisin-colored, burnt umber dreck, 

awash with all of the uncomfortable swirl 

and emptiness indicative of quiet descent 

into the maelstrom. Another painting in 

comparison, Pure, demonstrates the gentle 

limpidity of Lundsager's touch with its 

dental array of brightly glazed color 

seeping down in a dissipated rainbow chroma 

from above. Witness the blood orange color 

in Lundsager's Spoil, and realize a total 

immolation/immersion of blue into red. Oh, 

you're soaking in it.

One of the joys of Lundsager's painting is 

that in spite of her facility with the 

medium, and a painter's normal desire to 

safeguard technique, there is no secret 

process at work here. Every stroke is 

obvious in its intention, every movement 

discloses its own making, so we can all see 

how it's done and appreciate her 

decisiveness, or not. Lundsager's paintings 

demonstrate a great quality of organic 

abstraction, which, unlike other styles of 

painting, doesn't derive its evocative 

power from any fussiness with detail or a 

preoccupation with cleanliness. And 

although her works read as organic, they never 

come across like Joan Mitchell's paintings, 

saying "I live in Monet's house--now beat 

it," or like Terry Winters' works, which 

say, "This is a medulla oblongata. I just 

cut you."

The paintings in Lauren Wittel's project 

space almost seem to complete a world view. 

I like Sunburst in particular because it 

reminds me of a giant spider crab I once 

saw knocking along the ocean floor in a 3-D 

IMAX movie, unfamiliar and a somewhat 

scary. More please.

Jack Tilton Gallery, Jan. 14-Feb. 8, 1997, 

49 Greene Street, New York, N.Y. 10012.

Lauren Wittels Gallery, Jan. 14-Feb. 8, 48 

Greene Street, New York, N.Y. 10012.

MICHAEL BRENNAN is a New York painter who 

writes on art.