Stephen Rosenberg Gallery

These geometric abstractions were all executed by Sharon Gold in 1981 and have never before been shown in Manhattan. Since geometric abstraction is one again in vogue, it is necessary to distinguish Gold from the younger and newer crop of its practitioners. She is not a painter who tapes off a canvas into sections and then colors in the blanks. Instead, she is an intuitive painter who arrives at the final coloration and arrangement of her canvases through a long process of experimentation. The evidence of this process can be glimpsed along the side edges of her stretch canvases,, where very extremely thin layers and dribbles of colors extremely different from those on the finished surface can be espied.

These works were all done with a palette knife and have a distinct and at times wavy surface texture. Yet this nearly gestural aspect is completely subsumed by the over-riding geometry of Gold’s imagery. At heart, each of the pieces here seemed a study in balances: a balance of forms, one against the other, a balance of colors within forms. For example, Victory at See is composed of just four flat color zones (black, red, turquoise, and green-beige). However, this field becomes a stripe as it interacts with the truncated red stripe that in turn floats on the green-beige field. The drama of this canvas and this grouping of forms has been pared back to a minimum of visual activity, but it is still a drama.

In On, much the same sort of interaction is at play. Here it is a light blue anchor, around which rages a thin red border that wants to break out and a dominant gray field that wants to smooth the border into oblivion. Tucked into an upper corner is a quietly contrary gray-green that is the same value as the matte gray. This piece, like all of Gold’s canvases here, is simplified but in no way simple.

Timothy Cohrs

December 1987