The painterly accomplishments of Catherine Howe’s voluptuously feisty new works bursting the seams of the Von Lintel Gallery should not diminish their rare taxonomical achievement: to make action painting out of still life. These works defy categories of abstraction and representation, stasis and movement, literalism and metaphor. Their motifs are passive, indeed pacific, a cornucopia of flowers, fruit, glasses of delicious and inviting brew, and yet the artist brandishes her brush like a weapon. In fact it is more likely roller than brush that delivers willfully misbalanced concoctions of pigment and medium: she is a painter who revels in the wizardry of intaglio printmaking, exploiting with alchemical mischief the repulsions of differing viscosities. Liquid seems to curdle on the surface, generating fissures that make you think someone in heavy boots has just stomped through the canvas. And yet form and color sing with miraculous sweetness in works of disarming elegance, gutsy delicacy, explosive charm.
Until May 5, 2012. 520 West 23rd Street, between 10th and 11th avenues. New York City, 212 242 0599print