508 West 26th Street, 8th floor
Mar. 29-Apr. 28, 2012
A member of the generation of New York artists that includes Christopher Wool and Charlene von Heyl, Jacqueline Humphries (b. 1959) is known for large-scale, conceptualist abstractions that have visceral appeal. Of late she has been using brushy expanses of silver paint, producing works that combine the furious energy of expressionism with the kind of ethereal surface and light effects pioneered by Robert Irwin.†
Her new paintings are large, 7 x 8 foot canvases now dappled with thickly applied viscous black gestures that recall the strokes of Japanese calligraphy and the primitive figures of ancient cave paintings. Shimmering, shadowy expanses, up close each canvas reveals multiple layers of richly worked ground, as vibrant colors peek through the ghostly silver or sit shallowly on top of it.
Humphries has her black paint manufactured specially in Brooklyn, and it's a tough, messy business -- more like tar than paint -- against which she must throw all her weight. She uses brushes, sticks and squeegees to make the works, often adding a layer and then scraping it away, in the manner of Gerhard Richter. The paintings are priced in the $70,000-$80,000 range.