John Yau reviews an exhibition of work by Gary Stephan at Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, on view through April 26, 2014.
Yau writes: "Stephan’s sense of precision and timing — when to pull a loaded brush over a still-wet area — never announces itself, but is always there. Working with this circumscribed vocabulary, he composes paintings that twist the figure-ground relationship into a Gordian Knot, a layered, two-dimensional Rubik’s Cube that never quite fits together nor can ever be taken completely apart... the beauty of Stephan’s paintings. Everything in them seems to be defined by what is adjacent to it, whether side-by-side or underneath... By dissolving the categories of apprehension that separate the literal from the illusionistic, Stephan subverts the guidelines we use to sort and differentiate types [or genres] of painting. In doing so, he challenges what those categories imply"