Dorota Kolodziejczyk at Joseph Helman, March 7 - May 3, 2003.
Painters Monique Prieto and Laura Owens, of "return to color field" fame, essentially just goofed on the Washington Color School. It's easy to do: stretch up a big expanse of cotton duck, pour paint in cartoony shapes, add fake seagulls or bunny ears, and Voila!--critic Lane Relyea pronounces it a movement. More interesting (and courageous) is what Dorota Kolodziejczyk is doing: chucking the irony and tackling "post-painterly abstraction"
as a serious project, with problems (remember those?) still to be solved. Her show at Joseph Helman actually puts the painterly back in post-painterly, in that the canvases aren't merely stained, but involve an intricate play with layers--thick over thin, hard-over soft--not visible in reproduction. Already I'm sensing the pomo types drumming their fingers and saying "but that's just formal." AAAGH. Yes, that's how we talk about this type of work. Yet Kolodziejczyk's intentions stray pretty far from the wishy-washy pastorale of say, Helen Frankenstein, I mean -thaler (I swear I typed that inadvertently): this is Mountains and Sea seen from the window of a speeding car. Or the pinstriping on the side of the car. Or the topographical readout from the Global Positioning software on
the dash of the car. Or the artfully banally-colored electroclash graphics on the CD cover lying on the front seat of the car. Or...you're hopefully getting the idea. Most of the canvases employ a fairly straightforward method: the paint is poured vertically, then the canvas is rotated 90 degrees so the stripes run horizontally. Quite a bit of over-and-underpainting and brushing and other manipulation goes on, too: the work is not as methodologically pure as say, Morris Louis's. Each canvas employs the pours to a slightly different end, creating its own unique content-vector; I'm reproducing several pieces on the page so you can see a range. You'll get a lot more out of the work in person, though, so go see the show.