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Pat Passlof: Restating the Question of Meaning

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David Loncle reviews Pat Passlof: Paintings from the 1950s at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, on view through December 20, 2014.

Loncle writes that Passlof "is, by the early 50's, fully contending with the '…world of artist concerns…' introduced by de Kooning and the eclectic cadre of artists in the downtown enclave. These paintings grapple with those incipient artistic concerns. At a time when formal conceptions for abstraction were inchoate, Passlof's painting, still connected to its artistic feelers, strikes a variety of chords. Though achieving differing degrees of success these images provide complex visual experiences and often compelling conclusions. There is the sense of arrival following extended interrogation: How and what does it mean to paint and make pictures? This imperative seems to emerge from — and continue into — the paintings themselves where themes and painterly affects transform in their role and countenance. Passlof is testing, tasting and discovering a range of expressions as yet uncongested by the onslaught of superficial simulacra that followed the popular successes of Abstract Expressionism."

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