3 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now
By Will Heinrich
June 30, 2021
I started the elegant five-artist show “Field of Vision” with Kamrooz Aram’s “Maghreb Drapery,” a pale green diptych filled with wax-pencil arabesques. Because these patterns carry such different weight as American abstraction or Islamic design, but Aram is so clearly referring to both, I couldn’t quite get my bearings. How was I to decide if the work was any good? And what did it say about my standards that the very qualities that made his paintings so pleasurable to look at — rough brush strokes, extra pencil lines, flat blocks of color that don’t quite reach their edges — could also, in a different context, simply be evidence that they were unfinished?
Tweaking the pretensions of American painting, it turns out, is a great way to set up work by four other American painters who flirt with the boundary between art and design. Patricia Treib plays a game similar to Aram’s, setting ambiguous large squiggles that look almost like musical rests — or asterisks, fleurs-de-lis, or any number of other signs — against off-white backgrounds. Sarah Crowner and Rebecca Ward sew together pieces of painted canvas — boldly colored for Crowner, muted for Ward — and let seams form their patterns’ hard edges. Three pieces by Suzan Frecon, filled with muted red and burnished gold, confidently cast off the top-heavy shadow of 20th-century abstraction and simply glow.