an exhibition of new geometric abstractions by painter Nola Zirin,
reflecting the artist’s cleverness with depiction of energy, chaos,
as well as perception of resonance, will open at the June Kelly
Gallery, 166 Mercer on Friday, May 13. The exhibition will
remain on view through June 14, 2022.
Art writer Paul Laster
points out that in this body of work, Zirin presents abstract
paintings spanning the past two years during the pandemic.
“One of the earliest paintings in the show, Syncopation
(2019), picks up from where her 2017 show at the gallery, Orbs
and Angles, left off. The layered, spray-painted orbs are
here—repeated to create a rhythm that flows across the shifting
picture plane like car headlights on a heavily trafficked street—but
the angles are now straight vertical lines, à la Barnett Newman’s
stripes, that flow through thickly and thinly brushed fields of
Fearless vision of scale
and ideas reflect continuous seminal endless experiment-tation that
informs and motivates Zirin’s painterly process. Laster writes,
every work Zirin creates informs the next one. She does not
work from drawings or sketches; she just begins by working directly
on the surface of the painting, be it on canvas or wood. An
action provokes a reaction, as Zirin spontaneously builds up her
picture plane. Stenciled shapes are spray-painted over
brushwork; selective taping defines hard-edged forms: and sanding
softens colors while characterizing contrasting surfaces.
Zirin puts panels together
at different depths to construct sculptural structures and then
thoughtfully merges mediums and marks to make a rousing range of
Zirin’s two most recent
paintings make further leaps forward. The joined-triptych
Assembling Chaos (2022), which is painted on two canvases and a
wood panel, conveys the darkness of the pandemic on the densely
layered left side of the abstraction, while the right side suggests
a brighter, more hopeful transformation through still shadowy yet
much lighter—and airier—tinted fields and forms.
Zirin’s unique style of
abstraction has rarely lacked a representational reference, such as
the bright hues, hard-edged architecture, and glistening lights of
the city, which forcibly turned her work from its biomorphic
beginnings to the syncopated rhythms it now dynamically transmits.
Laster writes, Nola Zirin studied with the distinguished American
postwar artists Milton Resnick and George Ortman. The
atmosphere of the city—with its endless energy, chaos, traffic,
soaring skyscrapers and sounds—has been a source of inspiration to
the artist’s jazzy abstractions for as long as she can remember.
Zirin is a native of New
York City. She received a bachelor's degree from New York
University and studied printmaking with Robert Blackburn at the
Printmaking Workshop in Manhattan. Zirin’s work has been shown
in many one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United
States and abroad. She is represented in numerous public and
corporate collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Brooklyn Museum, New York,
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY, The Islip Art Museum, Jane
Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Jersey, The
National Museum of Taiwan, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC,
Bank of Tokyo, AT&T Corporation, IBM Corporation, Reader's Digest
Corporation, and PepsiCo Corporation.