Magazine article Artforum International

Allison Miller: ACME

Magazine article Artforum International

Allison Miller: ACME

Article excerpt

As the recent "Societe Anonyme" exhibition at UCLA's Hammer Museum helpfully reminded us, painterly pluralism is nothing new. But for all its diversity, avant-garde modernism was largely predicated on imperatives, on overturning old paradigms for something more visionary--whether futurism or Fauvism, Surrealism or geometric abstraction. I must admit I often get a little perplexed about what the imperatives might be for contemporary painting, beyond the laws of supply and demand, and the speculative whims of fashion.

But while I wait for an imperative to emerge, I'm willing to settle for some simple painterly intelligence that requires the viewer to slow down and, well, look. In her solo gallery debut, Allison Miller presented six playful, mildly eccentric abstract paintings on board, each measuring four by five feet or vice versa. Despite their size, these paintings are modest proposals. At first glance, they appear to have a loose, improvisational quality, and the title of Notebook, 2006, seems to suggest that some if not all began as doodles. In many ways they still function as drawings, though it's unclear whether Miller has transposed smaller sketches to this larger scale, in the manner of Jonathan Lasker, who seems to be a likely influence here, along with Mary Heilmann, Frank Stella, Philip Guston, and peer Bart Exposito. Whatever the case, Miller's paintings do not seem entirely predetermined, and bear evidence of decisions made and unmade--slowly--in real time.

Monument, 2005, features a tall, emblematic figure-8 painted in racing stripes of red, pink, salmon, mauve, bright blue, cerulean black, and white, cinched by a white impasto rectangle. …

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