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21 Sep 2020

Ophir Agassi: One to the Next

Painting Center

Reviewed by Franklin Einspruch

The problem of sincere modernist religious painting is cursed four times over, obliged as it is to take place in a time of widespread skepticism about sincerity, modernism, religiosity, and painting. Yet Ophir Agassi demonstrates that it can be done, perhaps more convincingly than any artist since Rouault. His exhibition at the Painting Center features riffs on Biblical and related imagery, alloyed with his own experiences of spiritual struggle and fatherhood, and hammered to rightness on the anvil of Matisse's French Window at Collioure.

One to the Next (2019), an intensely questioned tribute to Giotto's St. Francis before the Sultan, presents a challenging but authoritatively resolved composition of black and teal within which figures, blanked but nevertheless familiar, gesture hieratically. Though new in form it invokes all the old magic. The double alef in the lower left is the artist's signature, but also suggests "begin and begin again." One may, and it seems that one must.

Exhibition Ophir Agassi: One to the Next link
Start date 01 Sep 2020
End date 26 Sep 2020
Presenter Painting Center link
Venue 547 West 27th Street, Suite 500, New York City, NY, USA map
Image Ophir Agassi, One to the Next, 2019, acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 inches, courtesy of the artist

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