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Back to Reviews 97

Michael Kessler
Fencing, 1997, acrylic on panel, 36 x 60 in.

david ebony's
new york top ten

michael kessler
at littlejohn contemporary

Apr. 2-May 3, 1997

This show of seven recent large and medium-size paintings on wood by Michael Kessler is a knockout. Kessler, who lives in New Mexico, attempts to pack into his paintings something of the powerful forces of the southwestern sun and wind. His carefully executed compositions of scraped and softly brushed pigment, incorporate interlocking geometric patterns inspired by native-American weaving.

Fencing is a large painting in which translucent red rectangles emerge from a subtly illusionistic space. A bright yellow painting titled, Surface Tension VII, is an homage to the blazing desert sun. In a tall, vertical work, Four Corners III, shades of bright red seep through a brown background, an ostensible ode to the earth. One of my favorites is Teal Fields I, in which brilliant red squares seem to be suspended over a liquid teal background. Kessler's paintings are among those rare works that manage to arrest the eye and mesmerize without the slightest sign of aggression.