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Howardena Pindell: The Hole Truth

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Raphael Rubinstein considers Howardena Pindell's works from the 1970s, which were recently on view at Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.

Rubinstein notes that Pindell "used a hole punch to make stencils—from tin plates or stiff paper—through which she would spray paint onto the canvas. By mid-decade, the metal and paper circles—which this economical artist preserved-began to make their way onto the surfaces of the paintings… Hundreds or even thousands of paper and metal circles, some of them punched out of the stencil she was just using, were then carefully distributed across the canvas, bonding with the wet paint… The paintings created in this unconventional manner bear surfaces that can suggest a lunar landscape, encrusted skins skimmed off some strange liquid or the variegated face of an ancient, much-eroded wall. Given how Pindell summons amazing effects of diffused, atmospheric color from these haptic surfaces, it's no surprise that Claude Monet comes up in discussions of her 1970s work. In an essay for the Garth Greenan exhibition catalogue, poet/critic Barry Schwabsky eloquently notes that Pindell's paintings 'encourage the eye to overcompensate by refining its perceptions to the point where the minute differences from one moment of color to the next suddenly loom vast.'"

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