The Curtain And The Reveal: Marcy Rosenblat's Abstract Paintings

  When we are privileged to see those usually hidden workings responsible for outward phenomena—a tree’s root system, for example, or the neural activity visible in a coded brain scan—we experience those curtained off dimensions of the present as daily revelation. In our typical dyad of experience, we see one or the other; the theater audience sees the staged reality, and the crew sees the machinations backstage that bring that artifice to life. Marcy Rosenblat’s abstract work comes to us holding both these dimensions at once—the covering, the uncovering, the history of layering and peering and peeling away. Through her canvases’ enticing, inviting beauty of relationships, the viewer is offered the meta-information that the human condition involves a constant interplay between these worlds. We are bestowed with the rare ability to move between walls, to have the freedom and ephemeral body of the paint’s history, which we know is a metaphor for our own.

  Rosenblat paints with her canvas flat, by literally pouring the paint, and physically turning her easel so that the paint becomes the needle on a compass, dripping as the canvas is tilted. She applies and removes textured paper toweling that does the work of time, and of our private decisions. Look on the sides of her canvases and you will see the color skeleton of the surface’s body. Many of the colors may be nowhere left on the surface, and the surface color may be nowhere on the sides. How connected are these two dimensions? Think of our daily actions—having a personal conversation, or making toast—and you will come to the moment when something we can’t see informs what we can. Rosenblat’s canvases create a kind of four-dimensional portraiture where the past and the present live with the reconciliatory action of seeing, and the attempt to describe nothing less than the act of being.

 --Jessica Greenbaum