Gabriele Evertz

Gabriele Evertz: Rapture at MINUS SPACE
by Peter Plagens
Wall Street Journal
November 26-27, 2011

Gabriele Evertz
Seven Grays + One Color Sequence, 2011
Acrylic on canvas over panel, 12 x 12 inches


Gabriele Evertz (b. 1945) came to New York from Berlin when still a teenager. She studied and now teaches at Hunter College, known as the Manhattan home of abstract "color painters"—artists who use bright hues, flat paint, and razor-sharp edges for poetic effect—and Ms. Evertz is certainly one of them.

For her first solo at this gallery, she displays just six paintings, only two too big to be carried with one hand, but all sporting a kind of bar code of narrow, masking-taped bands of graduated grays—all slightly on the warm side—rhythmically interrupted by shafts of bright, out-of-the-bottle spectrum colors. On the two large canvases, the visual effect is one of fluting on classical Greek columns. The stripes of the purer colors that seem to project are luminous, especially on "Six Grays + RYB" (2006), where they're two-toned (e.g., a buttery yellow next to a lemony one). Aside from scale, though, all this fussing doesn't amount to much more than one of those "simultaneous contrast" exercises from Josef Albers's legendary old color course at Yale. The painting is stately, refined and nuanced, but also a bit inert.

The Times Squaring of visual life today, where intense-colored electric light in complex configurations is as common as a city street corner, can, of course, make acrylic paint on nubby canvas seem dull. But the homely materiality of painting canvas can sometimes transcend all this—and, in fact, the exhibition's smallest picture, "Seven Grays + One Color Sequence" (2011), does. With angled light-dark bands of gray among the brighter stripes, it seems to lift off the wall and hint at rapture.