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Installation view of Amy Sillman: Twice Removed, Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2020 (all images courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels)

In a time when we are utterly deprived of physical contact, Amy Sillman’s works drip with traces of touch. A self-described formalist, Sillman continues to harbor a deep love for gestural painting, and refuses to be made to feel embarrassed about it.

Installation view of Amy Sillman: Twice Removed, Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2020

Twice Removed, the artist’s current solo exhibition at Gladstone Gallery showcases recent paintings on both canvas and paper. While the canvases risk radiating a somewhat forced spontaneity, Sillman’s talent thrives on the latter surface; her works on paper have a visceral quality that is accentuated by their unframed installation directly onto the wall, as if left to dry, thereby extending a certain trust and intimacy to the viewer.

The highlight of the show is undeniably a series of flower paintings that Sillman made while in quarantine, though what is exhibited is only a fraction of the amount she produced. Equally messy and tender, like a summer fling, these flowers embody both the sense of decay and unyielding hunger for life that marks our current times. It is true that Sillman is having “a moment,” after the success of her curation of The Shape of Shape at MoMA. Yet while many critics act as if the artist has suddenly drunk a secret potion of productivity, it should be pointed out that Sillman has been active and brilliant since the 1970s — it is the critics who have finally caught on.

Installation view of Amy Sillman: Twice Removed, Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2020

Amy Sillman: Twice Removed continues through November 14 at Gladstone Gallery (515 West 24th Street, Manhattan).

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Ksenia M. Soboleva

Ksenia M. Soboleva is a Brooklyn-based writer and art historian. She is currently completing her PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and working on her first novel.

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