The large abstract canvases and works on paper that California-born Marcia Hafif made while living in Rome, from 1961 to 1969, stayed in Europe for decades after their creation, and this two-floor exhibition of some fifty works is the first occasion they are being shown in the US. Her practice at the time was to sit in front of the canvas until an image came to her. She experimented with equalizing large colored shapes, flipping and negating the relationship between figure and ground. It’s striking to see these minimal compositions in light of Hafif’s ultimate commitment to the severe denial of any image in her monochromes, a move that was particularly audacious given proclamations of painting’s historical irrelevance at the time. —Cathy Lebowitz
Pictured: View of Marcia Hafif’s 2016 exhibition “The Italian Paintings, 1961-1969” at Fergus McCaffrey, New York.