Magazine article Artforum International

Robin Rose

Magazine article Artforum International

Robin Rose

Article excerpt

NUMARK GALLERY

The nineteen monochromatic abstractions that comprised Robin Rose's recent show "Exhilarate" are among his most elegant works to date. While the titles are whimsical--Exonerate, Extinct, Exuberant, Exude--these encaustic paintings (all 2000) are serious, thoughtful endeavors that deeply probe the medium's expressive possibilities. With their rich, nuanced colors and complex geometric patterns, they stand as the antithesis of the computer-generated abstractions with unmodulated colors and lifeless shapes so popular in painting at the moment.

In his new work, Rose forgoes his usual diptych format of opposed colors and patterns, instead presenting continuous rectilinear fields of a single hue, in this case red. The larger paintings, which range from two to six feet in height, are on linen over aluminum Hexcel panels, while the smaller ones are on wood; all have precise edges and project slightly off the wall, giving a general impression of floating, weightless color. This is especially evident in those works that abjure thick facture in favor of barely perceptible patterns: lines made by what must be a hot palette knife repeatedly drawn across the surface, overlapping rings made by melting circles of pigmented wax. By contrast, the strong textural relief of other works tends to disrupt both surface and color: One large painting has rows of deep horizontal ridges that seem to sag heavily, while in another, it seems as if large triangles are being forced through the waxy surface. …

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