The best one-person shows that I saw in the fall were Lisa Zwerling’s at the First Street Gallery and Joan Snyder’s at Hirschl and Adler Modern. There was no single painting in Zwerling’s show that had anything near the force or authority of some of the big symbolist abstractions in Snyder’s show, but then again Zwerling’s cycle of paintings, which illustrate fantastical encounters between people and animals, had an end-to-end coherence that was felicitous, provocative, unique.

Why were these the best shows I saw? Because the paintings had an emotional force that held me in the gallery. Zwerling’s paintings, with their mix of tight realism and synthetic fantasy, are enigmatic in a way that I do not particularly care for. Yet Zwerling paints these enigmas so straightforwardly and resolutely, I find that I begin to believe in the reality of her dream-theater scenarios. Joan Snyder works with elements...

 
Popular Right Now