Art About Art

Alan Uglow Pictures Pictures

THE DAILY PIC: In the late artist's pairings, it's not easy to say what's abstract and what's a representation.

03.21.13 7:50 PM ET

These two paintings by Alan Uglow, who died at age 70 in 2011, are in his solo show at David Zwirner in New York. I love how he creates one abstract painting that seems to be about painting (it could almost be read as a realist image of the back of a stretched canvas) and then makes a huge silkscreen print, in a full-blown realist mode, that seems to be an angled perspectival view of the abstraction – except that, on close study, it isn’t. Even those little blocks of wood the artworks sit on are great: They seem close cognates to the little blue rectangles in the corner of the abstraction, and then are shown again, as actual wood blocks, in the realist print. It’s M.C. Escher, without the schmaltz and with philosophical rigor, or it’s Robert Ryman in a less intuitive moment.

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