|ROSS BLECKNER, LEHMANN MAUPIN
540 West 26th Street, Chelsea
Through April 19
This seven-work exhibition gives an abridged account of Ross Bleckners enterprise over the last 16 years. Two paintings from 1987 show Mr. Bleckner reviving Op Art, the 1960s movement then widely viewed as dead and gone. Fields of blurred dark and light gray stripes, one punctuated by small songbirds, the other by nipples of neon-bright yellow paint, produce a spacey shimmer and a mournful mysticism tempered by a hint of irony.
With his cosmic chandelier paintings (not on view here), Mr. Bleckner pushed romanticism almost over the top. Here that vein is represented by a painting from 2000, an all-over field of blurry, flickering, white birds in deep blue space. In an installation of 100 small canvases, they flutter all over one large wall like confused spirits of the recently departed.
With fields of bubblelike forms pulsing against snowy white backgrounds we veer back toward the more strictly optical. In this context the paintings lose some of their gimmicky feeling and suggest another kind of transcendentalist experience.
In the most recent painting, from 2002, red-wine colored bubbles hover while scores of blurry, bright red lozenges circulate in space, all against a background of rounded gray shapes like stones. It is overly complicated, but it might be transitional, a promise of new developments in Mr. Bleckners exploration of visual and spiritual modes of perception.