Susan Silas reviews Carl Ostendarp: BLANKS at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, on view through September 6, 2014.
Silas writes: "In the show at Elizabeth Dee, we are presented with paintings that are fields of color. A salmony pink in the first room, a glorious yellow and a saturated orange in the second. And on these fields of color are our two playful icons, two letters or characters, subject to a strange gravity, rolling downhill, levitating themselves, bouncing up and down like the ball in a sing-along. We can anthropomorphize these letters as easily as we can anything else. They are signs, and they are part of the alphabet. The press release asserts that they are 'effectively "ruining" the monochrome field.' I don’t think 'ruin' is the word I would choose. The letters seem more like a way to playfully cajole us into a reevaluation of the monochrome field… the juxtaposition of the historical paired with a keen interest in the experience of the present, either in the act of creating a ground for other artworks or in the act of disrupting the monochrome field, seems to be a strategy of redefinition."