Nautical Boxes of Evolved Color

Zucker’s reappearance in N.Y. confirms the artist’s expert craftsmanship

The new show of paintings at Paul Kasmin Gallery confirms the reason for a Zucker revival.

Zucker’s work has always displayed its methodology as part of the image and concept of the work––the stuff of pure invention. These nine new paintings are box constructions, the areas of the simplified image divided by wooden strips or mullions––rather like Mondrian with real physical depth. The subject matter ranges from sailboats to volcanoes to a very simple depiction of a house.

Latex house paint of varying finishes is poured into the compartments of the shallow boxes and allowed to dry as the box is tilted this way and that. The result is a kind of iconic coloring-book-simple picture. Each work is an actual box accompanied by its lid of solid color hung above the painting. This generally assumes the look of sky or water, extending the narrative of each painting to include weather, time of day, or disposition.

The kicker here is the specificity of the color: the perfect storm-sky blue gray, inky night blue-black, and dawn pink. The result is an elegant and even poetic vision of simple pleasures and adventures––boating at night, boating at dawn, boating with an approaching storm, going home. These are contemplative adult paintings with literate conceptual underpinnings. They put to shame a lot of cyber kid art.

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