Haiku Reviews: ART 2014 Roundup I

January 5, 2015 8:56 PM

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Nancy Grossman's best known work is centered on the human head and face, but her transition to those leather masks of hers was marked by a period of equally intense, but far more abstract - and, in the context, even bolder - canvas-mounted assemblages, also predominantly leather and metal, and free-standing constructions. Although these aggressive objects bear many of the earmarks of their mid-60s moment (they speak notably to contemporary work by Lee Bontecou, Eva Hesse, John Chamberlain, nouveau realisme, and many other assemblagic oeuvres), they look and act like none of that moment's movements, except to address the viewer with similar force, dark humor, and mystery. This is a startlingly strong and confident body of work, tough, sensual, and tragic, and one wonders why Grossman wasn't recognized first for these; indeed, next to them the figural fantasies that did gain her accolades might seem self-contained and even predictable. That's hindsight, of course; in its day, Grossman's figural work was even less predictable and more startling. But the sheer presence of these hybrid concoctions, explosions of form and material, at once coarse and lyrical, that sprawl across the wall with a deftly choreographed (but never elegant) indecorousness, seems to reflect, embrace, and recoil from the chaos of their century - and no less of ours. Even Grossman's delicately rendered drawings from this period run off in all directions, like animal swarms in a panic. (Michael Rosenfeld, 100 11th Avenue, NY NY. www.michaelrosenfeldgallery.com)

Nancy Grossman's best known work is centered on the human head and face, but her transition to those leather masks of hers was marked by a period of equally intense, but far more abstract - and, in the context, even bolder - canvas-mounted assemblages, also predominantly leather and metal, and free-...

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