Stephen Maine reviews David Row: Four Decades of Painting at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, on view through April 2, 2016.
Maine writes that "The work of New York painter David Row has been labeled 'conceptual abstraction' but the unabashed physicality of his work—of which 15 choice examples are on view at Loretta Howard Gallery—suggests “calisthenic abstraction” as an equally apt designation... A pictorial field that seems too small to accommodate the figure—that is, in which the boundaries of the canvas or panel appear to crop the image—has long been crucial to Row’s compositional strategy. Variously reiterated, it yields all manner of spatial displacement and disjunctions. But this instability is carefully controlled, meticulously planned—another paradox that only deepens the pleasure this stunning show affords."
Martin Mugar blogs about David Row: Four Decades of Painting at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, on view through April 2, 2016.
Mugar writes: "The introduction of the curvilinear into [Row's] work appears to be lifted from the late paintings of de Kooning. To achieve an understanding of the Abstract Expressionist De Kooning, a notion of real physical gesture, which creates time and space, is crucial. Interestingly, Row reduces this to a semiotic sign. Granted they are hand painted but he domesticates the heroism of de Kooning into a sign that is often contrasted with another sign such as the stable grid pattern in 'Point of View.' However, when you realize that those swirling patterns are represented as a kind of irreducible sign of movement, like the convoluted twists and turns of Chinese dragon painting, then, Row’s life work becomes clearer and very interesting. He is really involved in the language of painting or better yet painting as language."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.