Matt Magee, "New Paintings"

Magee's playful abstractions are built on found images.

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    Matt Magee, Greentext

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    Matt Magee, Breviary

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    Matt Magee, Chad

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    Matt Magee, Thistle Two

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Matt Magee, Greentext

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Presenting a persuasive argument for the sublime nature of abstraction, Matt Magee offers two dozen nonrepresentational paintings on paper, and nearly as many minimal interpretations of life filtered through a Conceptual sieve on painted wood panels, in his first exhibition at Knoedler & Company. Twenty-four years since he earned an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Magee has continuously exhibited his intimate and poetic works in cultural capitals, yet has remained under the art world's radar. Supremely confident in his artistic skills and keen in the consideration of the installation, Magee makes the gallery's Project Space his own.

A series of small works on paper, in which Magee repeatedly painted jovial dots and dashes in the grid of an Agnes Martin invitation card, is the first work displayed—setting a Conceptual tone for the variously sized abstract paintings that rhythmically bounce around the next room. Greentext, the largest painting in the show at 72 by 48 inches, depicts 16 beautifully fluctuating horizontal lines that shimmy across a white background to whimsically reference Virginia Woolf's novel The Waves, which the artist rediscovered while visiting his sister in London. Likewise, the smallest painting on view, Little Canada, which measures eight by ten inches and captures the funky shape of our northern neighbor's boundaries in pink paint on a white field, was inspired by a sign for a suburb of Minneapolis that Magee spotted while visiting his aunt.

Throw reductive monochromes of airports, bar codes and naval vessels into Magee's painterly mix, and you get a vocabulary of abstract forms that's positively ready for prime time.

Knoedler and Company, through Nov 13