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Back to Reviews 97

Robert Thiele
Untitled 129-164

© ArtNet Worldwide 1997

david ebony's
new york top ten

Robert Thiele
at Howard Scott/M-13 Gallery

Jan. 9-Feb. 1, 1997

Wisconsin-born artist Robert Thiele makes monochrome painting-objects of canvas and paper mounted on wood. In this elegant show, his works seem to coalesce with the architecture of the gallery. The tall columns and curved walls are echoed in the sleek lines and undulating forms of his large shaped canvases. To each surface of these untitled works, Thiele applies only one or two gracefully drawn or incised lines that lend lightness and fragility to basically massive forms. His colors are subdued and earthy, although one of the most playful and sensual works on view is a smaller round construction painted bright red.

In a nearly seven-foot-tall golden ocher work, which comprises a wall-mounted rectangular slab five inches thick, two incised ellipses stretch the height of the canvas. In spite of the work's bulkiness, it conveys a feeling of openness and airiness. Similarly, in a smaller, round work, the surface has been divided in half, with the lower portion pierced, a la Lucio Fontana. Here, the atmosphere literally penetrates the work. And, as Carter Ratcliff says in the catalog essay for this show, "the nuances of surface generate a mood, a quality of weather."