Stanley Whitney's 'In the Color' - The New Yorker
7 December 2018This veteran abstract painter once said, “I always want to use every color in the universe, but then I have to take some out.” (It seems an even bet that, someday, he will get around to the omitted hues, too.) In a two-venue show (on W. 24th St. and on Tenth Ave.), two decades’ worth of Whitney’s loosely gridded, brushy blocks of saturated colors—the focus is solid at one space, scribbly at the other—reacquaint us with his startling dialectic of ravishment and astringency. Arrayed in ranks separated by horizontal bands, the blocks sing arias of optical happiness, but hardly in harmony. Each elbows aside its neighbors to monopolize a viewer’s eye. Imagine the instruments in an orchestra playing different pieces of music all at once, at crescendo pitch. How can the result not be cacophony? It isn’t. The conductor knows what he’s doing, and the work, even as it disconcerts, transfixes and beguiles.
Stanley Whitney: In the Color continues through December 21, 2018