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Jonah Koppel- jameswagner

By James Wagner

February 20, 2007

These paintings appear as magnificent, breathing monoliths inside the modest white box on Union Avenue. Jonah Koppel’s four canvases hang, with their molded, elegant cartouches one alone on each wall of theKlaus von Nichtsagend‘s exhibition space, and they absolutely will not leave the viewer alone. A look at the description of his working method* is a part of the experience of the art, but the finished work commands respect without any knowledge of Koppel’s process.

Caveat: The subtleties of these paintings’ textures and color, and the difficulty of recording anything in a mixture of the gallery’s natural twilight and electric lighting may have frustrated my attempt to do justice to the subtle tones of these two works.

Disclosure: I am very fond of a crisp Josef Albers silkscreen print (from the “Homage to the Square” series) we’ve had on our wall for fifteen years; it includes something very similar to these same four tones. I like it even more than that artist’s paintings, so I may be predisposed to favor Koppel’s chosen colors. But the Albers print has no texture whatsoever, and that is a very different thing.