For this show, New York painter Jonathan Lasker presents nine recent works. Concurrent with a traveling museum exhibition, the abstractions on view here break no new ground for the artist, but some of the canvases may be counted among the most resplendent of his career. In the 8-by-10-foot Domestic Setting for Post-Partum Anxiety, Lasker establishes an ambiguous space in which a jigsaw puzzle cut-out in the upper portion of the painting indicates a physical displacement of some kind. For One Who Shaped Countenance is classic Lasker, featuring thick, colorful lines that conflict with the rigidity of black rectangles in the background.
One of my favorites, An Explanation of Ice for a Summer Insect, features another arrangement of rectangles, this time, red and green scrawled boxes overlapping outlines of rectangles painted with thin black lines. Cascades of scratched black lines pour in from the left, stopping short of a network of thickly painted brown, pink and blue lines of the right.
While immersed in a sense of formal beauty, the works have plenty of implications outside of their self-contained universe. Read metaphorically, the lines could indicate actions and conflicts in the everyday world, while the geometric forms might be emblematic of human protagonists.
Jonathan Lasker, Oct. 8-Nov. 6, 1999, at Sperone Westwater, 142 Greene, New York, N.Y. 10012.