via Artforum online:
55 Chrystie Street
January 7–February 11
Working in acrylic and, occasionally, in glitter, Carrie Moyer treats the flat surface of her paintings as a site for playful excavation. In the abstract Coulee (all works 2006), the artist slyly equates the storied mysteries of geology and the female form, layering opaque swathes of brown and beige to engulf a bright, sinuous aperture, while in Fur Below, a vaselike object with protruding nipples, both flatly surrealist and weighted with ostensible history, reads like a still-life repurposing of an Eva Hesse piece—its blunt two-dimensional rendering emphasizing its odd beauty. Indeed, Moyer’s signal strength as a painter lies in her ability to make the weird and chintzy lovely. In paintings such as Old Flame and Gimcrack, psychedelic color stains (cornflower-blue paint here, a dab of fairy-dust-like glitter there) glimmer and mist gorgeously over starkly silhouetted objects resembling a malformed lava lamp and guitar. Color-field abstraction, '70s feminist art, midcentury graphic design, and head-shop hippie grooviness all find their way into this painter’s canvases. Rather than an airless exercise in name-that-influence, though, Moyer's work feels kooky, fresh, and elegant—decidedly more than the sum of its referents.
UPDATE 2/2/07: via NYTimes, Art in Review :
The Stone Age, New Paintings
55 Chrystie Street, near Hester Street, Lower East Side
Through Feb. 11
Carrie Moyer’s paintings are bracing blasts from several pasts and look surprisingly contemporary because of the deliberation with which they are made. Starting with the elegant earthiness of raw, unbleached canvas, Ms. Moyer builds thin, levitating strata of contrasting colors, forms and techniques, each with its own set of historical, stylistic and physical references.
Crisp shapes and negative silhouettes often evoke prehistoric goddess statues, rock formations or ceramic vessels. Translucent pours of color suggest natural streams, menstrual blood and the male-dominated history of formalist painting, while textures applied in expanses of hand or finger prints allude to cave paintings but also to 1970s feminism (especially the hand-printed paintings of Harmony Hammond).
Throughout, 1980s appropriation strategies, especially as they descend from Philip Taaffe, are pulverized and recast. In “Furbelow,” Ms. Moyer brings out the inner goddess of a curving Jomon period Japanese vase by adding hints of nipples to its top. Meanwhile “Old Flame,” an ancient brazier that is also a figure, is engulfed in a slow burn of color that suggests unquenched desire.
Ms. Moyer shares her penchant for precision layering with Stephen Mueller and her ambiguous figurative abstraction with Nicola Tyson. The combination of weightlessness and inner light is more singular and almost photographic in effect; it announces that everything is on purpose and accents a pervasive feminism that is both primordial and ineffably elegant.
There’s a cautious quality to Ms. Moyer’s precision that she will need to face, but for the moment the sense of looking all the way through to the back of her paintings, and deep into history, is very impressive. ROBERTA SMITH