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    Archive


    Complete archive, 1999-present

  • Carla Accardi
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  • 3

    Archive


    Complete archive, 1999-present


  •  REVIEW: MARTHA DIAMOND: FROM THREE DECADES

      Untitled 2004 in Martha Diamond: From Three Decades
      Untitled 2004
    Ascension: building to the climax

    In paintings from three decades, Martha Diamond embraces form while liberating content.

    By JEFFREY CYPHERS WRIGHT
    Offoffoff.com


    Spanning a range both of time and spaces, the selections in this retrospective mimic the process whereby Martha Diamond works. By building on themselves. Complementing Diamond's inventive blocking out of forms, the paint itself retains a trademark fluidity. The opportunity to see this representative selection is heightened by the echoes of themes that resound around the gallery.

    MARTHA DIAMOND
    Exhibition: From Three Decades.
    Works by: Martha Diamond.
     SCHEDULE
    October 28 - December 18, 2004
    Opening reception: October 28, 2004

    Gallery: New York Studio School Gallery
    8 W. 8th St.
    New York NY
    Hours: 10-6 every day
    Phone: (212) 673-6466

      
    Time and again, Diamond posits a vertical composition that propels us toward a type of crescendo. This is especially evident in the nocturnes. In "Black, White and Gray Cityscape #3" from 1994, Citicorp type buildings sheathed in glass, reflect billowing clouds of golden steam. In the foreground, some derelict skeletons of old tenements add a dimension of time — a majesty of transience. The jagged and ragged jets of steam rising mirror the angles of the abandoned building. Its black beams resemble a rib cage adding to the sense of mortality but accompanied by the ceaseless activity around us. Empty window frames further reveal one of Diamond's best tricks. She uncannily fills negative spaces with outlined volume.

      Cityscape #3 in Martha Diamond: From Three Decades
      Cityscape #3
    Representational and abstract elements coexist in the work, while pulling in different directions and enabling us to focus on the compositions apart from their associative auras. This can be seen in a powerful painting that could read as alabaster towers or as trees in winter where ravens roost. Occasional hazy drip marks or pert impasto, add punch and further personalizes the constructs. In Diamond's lexicon, nature has lots to say but retains a cryptic tonality.

    In the 2002 "NY 11," what could be Grace Church at 11th Street and Broadway pays homage to Monet's Chartres Cathedral series. Diamond floats horizontal lines against vertical ones in a broad weave that leads the eye skyward. Soft blues, stone grays and tawny browns form animated grids that glow with energy.

    The play of scale — ascending beyond the picture frame on top and descending toward street level on the bottom — invites a visceral impulse. The monolithic is presented in an exponential way and its mass becomes rhythmic. The rhythms, passages in the paintings that call to each other, create visual whispers adding to the overall operatic effects.


      
    Empty window frames further reveal one of Diamond's best tricks. She uncannily fills negative spaces with outlined volume.  

      
    In another cityscape, "Orange Light" from 1983, a hulking and bulky modern tower is seared by a molten orange glow. The dark interiors of the building that cuts against the sky show black brushstrokes going up and down and wet into wet. The resultant streaks of orange foundation are imbued with intimacy. Diamond's sable touch with the brush suggests that, to a large degree, the architecture is an armature for bravura marks on a canvas.

    A duo of new paintings presents divergent ways in which she is orchestrating her forces. A complex palette and a new vista distinguish what could be construed as a convoluted landscape of ice and rocks at sunset — or an abstract arrangement of chiaroscuro shapes framed by red and yellow.

    A recent suite of petite images wrap around a corner wall in a fast-paced whirl. Beginning with more inscrutable shapes, we are led through chemical bubbles and Guston-like machines to a gleeful vortex with a graph tracer running across it. These seven paintings work up to a final haunted bony building — black girders riding a low gray sky. In this final resonant grouping, Diamond continues to remind us she is a master at presenting solid forms in transcendent terms.

    NOVEMBER 3, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Martha Diamond: From Three Decades:

  • great review   from raj, Nov 24, 2004
  • urbanic impressionism   from roger Howie,vancouver b.c., Apr 24, 2005
  • im sad, its ben two years, why?   from john the handy man, Oct 14, 2008
  • Camp Queens and Kings   from Gerhard Simon, Dec 9, 2009

  • Post a comment on "Martha Diamond: From Three Decades"