“New Paintings,” the generic title of Dona Nelson’s latest show, does not give her vibrant, heavily worked-over paintings enough credit. The seven works in the show, all of which are two-sided, are installed in bulky metal armatures, or, in the case of the Dutch Door, hanging from the ceiling on thick cables. In some of the canvases, most notably Ribbed Red, each side looks like it could be a discrete artwork; in this case, one surface resembles narrow accordion folds, while the other has the effect of looking through a window at a low-flying plane.
Pictured: Installation view of “Dona Nelson: New Paintings”; at Thomas Erben. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Erben, New York. Photo Andreas Vesterlund.
Dona Nelson’s abstract two-sided paintings are some of the most swooned-over works on the most talked-about floor of the current Whitney Biennial. A concurrent gallery show presents eight canvases (five of which have a front and a back), raised a few inches off the floor with metal stands or, in the case of Phigor, the largest work, pushed out from the wall by tubes, allowing enough space for a viewer to pass behind it. Nelson’s aggressive allover painting style incorporates materials ranging from thinned acrylic pours, strips of dyed cheesecloth and tangles of thread.