New Angles on Geometry

Published March 25, 1993

In her show of oil paintings and monotypes at the Randall Beck Gallery, Ilana Manolson continues her explorations of geometric forms in space. Previous works depicted cubes and spheres exploding into asymmetrical forms, suggesting degeneration and chaos. This series is more optimistic; the forms seem less driven by frenetic, out-of-control impulses, more in tune with nature's harmony.

The monotypes are especially buoyant. Swiftly applied inks and ghostly impressions lend them an appealing freshness, with spheres whirl}rig through fields of layered color. The surrounding space, punctuated by spirals and concentric circles, evokes ongoing motion. Nature's micro and macro levels are called forth, with suggestions of DNA as well as perpetually mobile galaxies.

The paintings employ a similar format and gold, orange and green palette, but the tones grow darker, and the hard edges of the cubes become, more pronounced. An attempt is made to bring light into the works, by scratching through the layers, but the effort seems labored and the colors muddy. Than Manolson works so will in the difficult medium of monotype – which is, ironically, predisposed to muddiness – suggests that her gifts lie in the direction of the fluid, spontaneous processes.