David Ebony’s Top 10 New York Gallery Shows for October

8. Gregory Amenoff at Alexandre Gallery, through October 29.
The art of painting is alive and well in this luminous exhibition of recent works by New York artist Gregory Amenoff. Though fundamentally abstract, the fourteen works on view all refer to landscape in some way, and convey a rather mystical reverence for nature. Early Bright, for instance, showing a brilliant yellow starburst radiating toward a salmon-pink sky, is unabashedly sensuous, and suggests an almost hallucinatory sunrise vision. Other works, such as Clearing (for JB) and Flood feature sinuously undulating and overlapping curving shapes. In the former, the shapes are yellow, trimmed in blue, and stretch from the top center toward the lower portion of the composition, surrounded on either side by highly stylized vegetal forms and organic shapes.

There is a consistent sensuality and muscularity in Amenoff’s application of paint, and in the impasto surface textures he achieves. Aside from technical richness, the works bear a significant art-historical depth especially in their references to American modernist painters like Dove, O’Keeffe, and Hartley, as critic and painter Stephen Westfall emphasizes in his essay for the show’s catalogue. After spending some time with this exhibition, Amenoff makes a convincing case that the medium of painting is still the best way by far to express the euphoric state of being that one may experience in the presence of natural phenomena.