Acrylic on linen
60 x 52 inches
152.4 x 132.1 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY
Michael Reafsnyder’s abstract paintings are widely appreciated for their immediate sensuous appeal: vibrant, generously worked surfaces visualize luscious worlds of color and movement seemingly unencumbered by physical constraints.
On occasion, a disembodied Smiling Face or loopy personage— perhaps Reafsnyder’s signature motifs—marks out territory in these sumptuous environments. Their presence adds narrative to what might otherwise be classed as pure abstraction. Yet these figures invite deeper contemplation.
Reafsnyder’s slippery technique—using planks of Plexiglas to swipe and slide plentiful applications of unmixed acrylic over large zones of canvas—yields a visual abundance that confounds conventional descriptions of pictorial effect. Yet sustained looking will reveal the rigor of Reafsnyder’s formal investigations. There is a seriousness to his work that exists in concert with his spirited and mischievous play. As in the art of Hans Hofmann, the manifest pleasure we may take in simply enjoying the quality of Reafsnyder’s surfaces is accompanied by our thoughtful engagement with his art, which rewards our attentive regard.