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New York Times

Art in Review

By Roberta Smith

August 11, 2006


Greenberg Van Doren
730 Fifth Avenue, near 57th Street
Through Aug. 18

Color is its gorgeous, malleable self in this show of work by six painters and one chromatically inclined sculptor: variously dark, glowing, livid, naturalistic and ersatz. The mood is vaguely sinister in the first room, with Naomi Fisher’s fluorescent pink and orange renderings of demonic young women; Andrea Hanak’s little paintings of flowers apparently vandalized with smears of brown and black; and Martin McMurray’s even smaller woodland scenes, in brown and red, of an antic if dangerous violent hunting trip.

On the floor a doormatlike relief, constructed from Bristol paper and enamel by Chris Caccamise, combines innocuous language and banal color. Its blocky letters (spelling ”Thursday”) and the concentric bands surrounding them are painted slightly off-kilter hues that rarely repeat, creating a decided, if irregular, visual bounce.

In the second, cheerier room, Laleh Khorramian mimics natural processes and forms by pressing and sponging dark colors onto a vellum-like plastic; the resulting drips, rivulets and strata suggest lunar landscapes and the work of Max Ernst.

Benjamin Butler’s landscape images are more orderly in their pursuit of the visionary. ”Untitled (Twelve Trees)” enfolds leafy schematic trees in a hallucinatory violet sky whose pulsating strokes recall Munch and Van Gogh by way of Robert Ryman.

Andreas Leikauf, a Viennese artist, makes a weak case for monochrome and photo appropriation with works that are far too reminiscent of Luc Tuymans’s art.

As used here, the word ”palette” indicates not only color but also a full spectrum of approaches to art-making. The artists share so little in terms of style, technique or color schemes that the selection, made by the artist and independent curator Augusto Arbizo, can seem almost arbitrary. But there are times when quiet dissonance has its own appeal, and this is one of them.