Carrie Moyer’s new paintings are the most lyrical and personal works to date in her ever-evolving painting practice. “Canonical” displays a confidence in expressive power of pure abstraction. These paintings are simultaneously stripped down and filled up, full of surprising interplay between figure and ground, and enlivened by a brightly nuanced and carefully considered palette.
The use of masking and transparency feels boldly reinvented in these paintings; there is a boisterous give-and-take between shapes and contours. The evocative possibilities of ambiguity are evident. A strong use of line has newly emerged: no longer limited to preparatory drawing, the lines here have a heft, spontaneity and near symbolic significance. Decentralized, forms flow across the canvas, often passing through across and through one another. In “Canonical”, the lively, ongoing dialogue Moyer has had with abstract painting feels absorbed and integrated; exuberant shout-outs to Georgia O’Keefe, Stuart Davis, Frank Stella and Elizabeth Murray give the work a fresh sense of expansiveness and assurance.
The materiality of Moyer’s paintings is subtle and deeply mysterious. Acrylic paint is transformed to conjure up sunsets, boxes of jewelry, coral reefs and other indelible effects of light and atmosphere such as fog, shimmery afterimage and splashy crescendos. Carrie Moyer’s command of material is cut by a teasing tickle as she plays the canonical against the comical. Her paintings lightly walk a line between Saturday morning cartoons and the fourth floor of MoMA. – Wallace Whitney