Peggy Cyphers has a persistent vision of nature that she translates into richly colored and textured quasi-abstract paintings. She pours and lightly brushes countless layers of paint and sand onto the canvas until she achieves luminous and sumptuous surface. Approaching each canvas as a kind of garden where organic and geometric elements intermingle with intense light, she nurtures elaborate hybrid forms. In this exhibition, her tenth solo at Donahue/Sosinski, she presents 13 lush and dense canvases produced over the past three years. They seem to be caught in a moment of rest before further episodes of growth and evolution.
Glass Garden is an allover composition of sandy color and texture that features circular forms in the central portion of the canvas, and long, black-outlined tentacle-like branches stretching toward the center from the sides. All of the forms appear to float above faintly visible silk-screened illustrations of birds, which also seem suspended in the dense atmosphere.
Another airy composition, First Breath, is one of the most elegant of the new works. Here, Cyphers' signature spiral form (which she developed over the years partly as an homage to Robert Smithson) appears in layer upon layer of paint, cascading from the top of the canvas and growing up from the bottom. The spiral is once again the central motif of Stick Insect, a big bold painting, the largest on view. One of the most mesmerizing paintings in the show is ICH20, in which layers of organic forms and insect images seem to navigate through a brilliant blue ether.
Peggy Cyphers, Sept. 12-Oct. 10, 1998, at Donahue/Sosinski, 560 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012.