Art in review: Pat Lipsky
Pat Lipsky, who has been exhibiting regularly in New York since 1970, makes flat, geometric paintings without irony. That they come off not stale or stuffy is a notable accomplishment at this late date in Modernist art history. Her paintings hark back to the early 1960’s, invoking the implacable non-representational frontality of Frank Stella’s stripe painting. Unlike Mr. Stella, however, Ms. Lipsky keeps her compositions tightly contained within the traditional pictorial rectangle and gives them seductive, egg-shell surfaces.
The pictures are deceptively plain-spoken. Vertical bands of equal width fill the canvases edge to edge, each band divided into two blocks, one above and one below. The effect is polyrhythmic in three dimensions: the bands seem to push up and down like valves in a machine while the blocks of subtly variable color, alternating warm-cool or dark-light, pulse toward and away from the viewer. Those that combine slightly shifting blacks with glowing, richly saturated blues or reds are especially captivating; with delicate matte surfaces of home-made paint, they call to mind Ad Reinhardt’s paintings.
Ms. Lipsky’s compositions distantly resemble piano keyboards, enhancing the feeling of Bach-like musicality. The more you gaze at them, the more absorbing they become.