John Yau reviews an exhibition of paintings by Joanne Greenbaum at Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York, on view through April 20, 2014.
Yau writes: "Greenbaum’s paintings are animated by different kinds of color-coded circuitry that overlap and snake around cutout shapes and stair-like structures. It is an incredibly difficult balance riddled with disruptions. Paul Cezanne opened painting up and inserted disruptors within the composition, but subsequent generations closed painting down and smoothed it out, reaching what some believe is the end of painting. Omnivorous in her desire to open painting back up, to acknowledge the plane while unsettling the composition, Greenbaum keeps disrupting her paintings, usually by introducing a different material — acrylic marker or oil stick alongside oil paint. In contrast to her contemporaries, she integrates two or more different systems or languages, achieving a composition that is simultaneously a standoff and a structure overrun by lines. It is a masterful accomplishment, which flies in the face of those who practice a form of painting that is unified and resolved."