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Oona Ratcliffe

535 West 22nd Street
October 13–November 14, 2004


Oona Ratcliffe's paintings are like contemporary Kandinskys: big, symphonic orchestrations of color and line that seem rooted in landscape, but skirt any concrete representation. Their colors are appropriately updated to reflect myriad palettes, from Neo-Geo's bold, clear primaries to the recent reincarnation of New Wave's neon squiggles and flourishes. Ratcliffe's compositions look computer-generated, recalling the work of contemporary painters who use digital technologies as sketchpads. Her titles—Drench Revelation, Intimacy Accompaniment, In the Blue of Its Eyes, I Can Be the River (all works 2004)—seem like attempts to add layers of allusion where none are needed, and one longs for the judicious reserve of Kandinsky's numbered "Compositions" and "Improvisations." Ratcliffe keeps the fever pitch of her painting at the same level through nine large canvases, and that's a feat that speaks for itself.

Martha Schwendener

Click to enlarge

Drench Revelation, 2004.