'Coherent Surface, Radiant Light at Bernard Jacobson (New York)'
By Barbara MacAdam
ARTnews, September 2012

This elegant and lucid show testified to the power of an imaginative, well-conceived installation. Together the works, by an unusual grouping of artists, established surprising affinities and also showed themselves to best advantage. Here light was considered not simply as color or absence of substance or part of nature, but also as space - such as that residing between objects. By the gallery's front windows, three Larry Bell sculptures stood sentry. Their glass-cube tops seemed to attract and regulate light from outside, as it passed through and changed character with the time and weather.

Nearby was one of the late monochrome painter Rudolf de Crignis's most magnetic blue canvases, hung low for intimacy and surrounded by ample space. Built on layers of paint applied vertically and horizontally on a ground of white, the work's invisible structure and texture seemed to create and radiate light and air.

Also demonstrating the power of position, Kazimira Rachfal's "as under a green sea" (2011), an oil on canvas with graphite paint, hung like a tiny jewel, demanding attention by virtue of its compactness and its stunning green-blue background and heavily worked-over scratched gold center. Similarly, Jake Berthot's small, dark painting "Nightscape - Coming Day" (2001-10), occupying a wall of its own, was surprisingly striking for its subtle yet dramatic patch of illumination.

By contrast, Vicky Colombet treated light both as air, in translucent watercolor, and as material, in a textured oil-and-wax on canvas, where she actually shapes illumination. Beyond pure abstraction, there was the suggestion of landscape in the paintings of William Tillyer, who alludes to nature in the light-altering patterns of his surfaces and structures.

Several artists here saw light more concretely, including Marc Vaux, whose illuminating geometry gives literal form to color; Bram Bogart, who traps light in the form of thick white impasto; and James Hayward, whose rich white strokes offer the visual titillation of a bowl of stiffening whipped cream.