David Salle: Ghost Paintings

David Salle, Ghost 6, 1992, ink on photosensitized linen, 85 x 75 inches (courte
David Salle, Ghost 6, 1992, ink on photosensitized linen, 85 x 75 inches (courtesy of Skarstedt Gallery)

Drew Lowenstein reviews the recent exhibition David Salle Ghost Paintings at Skarstedt Gallery, New York.

Lowenstein writes: "The narrative-driven formats used by Salle’s Picture Generation peers promoted sequential arrangements that mimicked authoritarian modes of instruction and control...In contrast, Salle’s single image doesn’t settle into a read. However, in a tacit nod to Minimalist iconoclasm, each horizontal section in the Ghost Paintings is identified with a distinct color, giving each painting the look of a tri-colored flag. But Salle adroitly inks the surfaces with intense hues that increase depth of field, light, and illusion... Employing a breezy imperfect haste, Salle’s occasional traces of wide brushstrokes reveal how the thin translucent veils of color were pushed around. Both the color applications and the photo images have been treated nonchalantly. Spots, scratches and other photo imperfections appear like eye floaters, baring all against the draped figure. Absorbing these stresses, the shrouded figure gains poetic strength while the Rothko-esque proportions and emphasis on color field allow the viewer to hang back and bask in sensation."