Nancy Haynes, Shadow Syndrome, 2008
Oil on linen, 20 x 26 inches
February 12 – March 14, 2009
Elizabeth Harris Gallery presents dissolution, an exhibition of paintings made over the past year by Nancy Haynes. In her first New York exhibit in nine years, Haynes furthers her inquiry into the nature of space and light in non-representational painting. The sensitive, at times almost reticent fields of dark, modulated colors create a spectral range of light to dark (or dark to light) – at times almost imperceptible and monochromatic. Haynes titles this series dark matter after the notion of an unseen matter inferred by what is present, what the artist has often referred to in her work, as the presence of an absence. While the subtle color and spatial shifts are physical and painterly, Haynes describes her interests in conceptual art and philosophy as an important influence for her reductive, introspective paintings.
In this body of paintings the use of a squared off brushstroke asserts itself as a mark and gesture in order to force home the non-representational. As Marjorie Welish wrote in A Literature of Silence, an essay on Haynes written in 1993: “As with the divisions within Barnett Newman’s visual fields, Haynes’ mark or brushstroke signifies the artist’s location of an abyss and so, a condition of a distant “there” against which the mark establishes a conditional “here.”
In these paintings the space created by chiaroscuro and sfumato of the painted illusion of light further confounds that elusive experience. Haynes’ work has been resolutely abstract for more than thirty years; the Elizabeth Harris Gallery exhibit will also include a few early works from the 70’s through 90’s.
“… however much Haynes’ painting may be about erasure and emptying, the way they are emptied and erased fills them with an idea of painting as a place where the unrealizable may be made visible.” from the Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe essay, Endspace: From a real to an absolute Nancy Haynes’ Paintings 1974 – 1998.