Thursday, March 1st, 2001

Anne Truitt at Danese

41 East 57th Street,
Fuller Building
New York NY 10022
February 16 – March 17, 2001

Anne Truitt is better known as a sculptor, if not indeed as the author of “inspirational”, somewhat earnest artist-journals with titles like “Daybook” and “Prospect”.  Danese are in fact presenting the octogenerian abstract artist’s her first solo painting show in New York, mostly pieces from the 1980s and 1990s, but with a group of works on paper from the 1960s-1980s in the back gallery.  The paintings are minimal, but unfettered it seems to me by the rhetoric of Minimalism with a capital “M”.  Tellingly, her associations are with post-painterly abstraction- Noland and Greenberg were both acknowledged influences, and the most expressive of the canvases recalls Newman, Frankenthaler and Olitski in the incrementality of the dramatized, isolated line.  A more typical work, like Envoi 1989, places a hard-edged geometrically irregular, approximately rectangular shape in a bright purple against a canvas of related but darker hue.  Some of the later canvases are stretched on rounded frames, creating three-dimensional interest at the point where the shapes negotiate this dip.  (I was unconvinced by the gallery assistant who explained this in terms of economic expediency.)  Aesthetically, all is in the placement of this shape.  The works are exquisitely refined and restrained without the slightest hint of feyness. Indeed, they are at once understated and emphatic.  My favorite of this group had me thinking of a Joseph Albers repainted by Paul Klee.