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Jill Moser
at James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Alex Ross

Continuing through June 18, 2011

In a sparsely installed solo exhibition, Jill Moser presents nine recent paintings that signal the ongoing evolution of an aesthetic she has refined steadily since the early 1990s. Attesting to the economy of means effected by her signature motif - vortices of loose loops bunched sparingly against milky backgrounds - she teases the divides between painting and doodling, rigorously built surfaces and spontaneous gestures, literal materiality and spatial illusionism. Austere yet faintly cartoonish, her work defines an unlikely confluence of Minimalist sobriety and an exuberantly illustrative verve.
Having clearly absorbed Brice Marden's "Cold Mountain" series, Cy Twombly's asemic calligraphies, and Phillip Guston's early abstract expressionist work, Moser manages to stake out an individuated visual lexicon. Among the most singularizing and compelling of her recent developments: wide swaths of smoke-toned pentimenti nod to the process-driven character and advertency of her compositions. These are not traces of regretted gestures: they remain too present - never skulking off - to be mere cover-ups. Rather, they act as deliberate traces of image construction, balancing the forward projection of unmodulated fluorescent and mineral-based oils with a strong tug of spatial recession ... lurching back but never dissolving into her subtly scumbled, always neutral, grounds. These symbols of frenetic motion - muffled signs of an unhinged expression that never ultimately let loose - mediate between dizzying swirls and vaporous backgrounds to provide increased nuance to her images' already equally subtle depth of field and emotional valences.

James Kelly Contemporary

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