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Rosy Keyser, "The Hell Bitch"

  • Art, Painting
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The paintings in this excellent solo show, Keyser’s first at Maccarone, are clearly indebted to Philip Guston’s abstractions, Robert Rauschenberg’s combines and Eva Hesse’s rope works, among other works from the past. For the most part, they wear their influences well.

The exhibition opens with the medium-sized canvas Bird of Paradise, a dark mass of fabric, paint, mica and silky fringe. Calling to mind a shadowy patch of undergrowth, it is beautiful, irritable and distinctly feminine in the manner of Joan Mitchell. In contrast, the airy, frenetic Music for a Drowned World is a ten-foot-long stretcher on which only a couple of large swags of canvas remain, with the rest of the painting’s space crisscrossed by webs of paint-soaked fringe topped by a twisted length of silvery metal corner bead. Such real-world materials regularly take the place of paint in Keyser’s works, as in the nicely off-kilter Mi Tata (Drug Mule), which contains a disarticulated wood bead seat cover. Less successful are two new diagrammatic wall sculptures made from welded square steel tubing and sand bags, but they show the artist moving in a new and potentially rewarding direction.

The title of the exhibition comes from the artist’s name for a canvas she keeps in her studio to test materials and techniques on—a “living palette” something like a petri dish. Knowing this makes one want to see more of that private experimentation made public, as in the works here, which flirt with failure to great effect.–Anne Doran


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