It is tempting to designate Clint Jukkala’s Telepath – one of a baker’s dozen of chirpy nursery-hued canvases in the artist’s first show with BravinLee programs – as the tripping grandchild of Matisse’s Moroccan in Green. Colors and textures are reminiscent of the master’s North African sojourn of 1912/13, while the strong purposive wobble of the giant split disks of eye and lens seem pure Matisse—with hints of Robert Delaunay and Joan Miró. It is also Matisse via Color Field abstraction, flower power iconography and Alfred Jensen, to flesh out the lineage. Gendering this progeny probably comes down to whether the fading blue verticals and sergeant-major’s stripes betwixt those dominating orbs read as facial hair or beaded veil, but the bald pate tips masculine. Equally ambivalent is whether Jukkala’s schematic yet highly individuated personages are the objects of an intoxicated gaze or themselves look out at the world (or in, at the soul) through psychedelic eyes. Matisse in Morocco, meanwhile, feels like the right blend of the canonical and the exotic for this consummate insider-outsider, the Yale MFA graduate (and instructor there before taking a chair at the Pennsylvania Academy last year) who paints his fresh, nutty, insouciantly sophisticated persona-abstractions with a constantly rewetted innocent eye.
Clint Jukkala: Cosmic Trigger through June 7. 526 West 26th Street #211, between 10th and 11th avenues, New York City, 212 462 4404