Jennifer Riley reviews Russell Roberts: Paper Bed, Concrete Head at Heskin Contemporary, New York, on view through April 18, 2015.
Riley writes: "In these complex paintings, rich in complex spatial propositions, the main white and blue areas evoke Matissian plays of figure and ground, while within the smaller white or blue areas Roberts complicates foreground and background with shapes and lines that easily swap roles. Various marks and lines cut through and exit the box-like shapes. The light white areas contain orange and purple shapes, sinuous lines that can feel both comic and anthropomorphic. Occasional brownish-green shapes or strokes connote‘stuff’ tucked into interstitial spaces like closets, corridors or in-between walls. Each element is interconnected and dependent on other parts. Lines often toy or flirt with shapes, bisecting or breaking off, linking disparate areas, yet a strong sense of liberation and harmony is achieved. Perhaps Roberts has engaged these forms in this way to serve as an apt metaphor to describe the complexities of world we live in today."