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MILTON RESNICK at Robert Miller Gallery

Milton Resnick, "ABOVE & BELOW," 1998. Oil on canvas, 64 x 80". Courtesy of Robert Miller Gallery.

Milton Resnick’s paintings support his idea that the “canvas needs to be stronger than you” by providing an experience where historic and the organic intersect. His “X Space” series consists of moderately sized works, each of which redefines and deforms the symbol of the cross. Painted in tones and layers that are as muddy as a riverbed, they nevertheless seem to be located in the air above, like constellations; and the contradiction between their substance and effect creates pulsation that has an existential sense of both possibility and closure. On one hand Resnick wants to position the canvas as a place that “cannot be divided, and must be whole like nature.” On the other, his short, sturdy brushstrokes, which place the didacticism of the symbol in play against an impalpable space, create an effect of muffled footsteps, similar to the sound of patient sanding. If one gives oneself over to these works, particularly those entitled “Above, Below,” one can sense the presence of Resnick’s grid-like definitions, which are located in an even more tenuous space than the aporias between them. Add to these structures the reflective surface glare of his brushwork, and one begins to experience a hesitance at the entrance of the labyrinth, inviting us to recognize the fearful price of our accomplishments, and to remember eras when lives were bent towards larger historical purposes.

At Robert Miller Gallery, March 2001


Rachel Youens


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