Thomas Scheibitz, a young artist from Germany, has a very distinctive painting style, but it's hard to pin down. In his latest exhibition, "Final Gold," the seven large and medium-sized paintings on view do not look very original at first glance. Rather, they seem inspired by early expressionist paintings -- Kokoschka's landscapes, for instance. And then there's a sizable dose of de Kooningesque brushwork, along with muted colors that recall certain Baselitz paintings. Some of the compositions call to mind Diebenkorn's "Ocean Park" series.
The key to what makes Scheibitz's painting special is really found in the two sculptural works on view. In Relief, a wall-hung painted wooden tondo three feet in diameter, overlapping geometric forms in white and brown define a fractured space. A gray and white wooden floor piece titled Russell Building is based on the cube, but the rigorous geometry is disrupted by a triangular opening and an appendage of silver and gray lightening bolts attached to the top.
The best paintings on view have similar compositional disruptions. For example, the large Set, a sort of landscape, shows an odd white house surrounded by a white picket fence set against a green mountain and purple sky. On the right of the canvas is a small patch that looks like a section of the picket fence magnified a thousand times. In Sky, an arrangement of simple, fragmented planes manages to evoke the feeling of a vast, light-filled and airy place.
Thomas Scheibitz, "Final Gold," Dec. 2, 1999-Jan. 15, 2000, at Bonakdar Jancou, 521 West 21st St., New York, N.Y. 10011.