The title Entropvisions is in homage to my mother, the poet and art critic, Harriet Zinnes. In 1990 New Directions published a collection of her poems titled Entropisms, a word she made-up combining entropy - the tendency toward disorder - and tropism - the growth towards or away from a stimulus. Similarly, my short reviews combine entropy and tropism by suggesting growth towards a vision of art from the chaos of the art world.

Roger-Edgar Gillet at Petzel Gallery
2022.12.26
What a discovery! The Roger-Edgar Gillet show that just closed at Petzel Galley uptown was a knockout. I wish I’d seen it earlier so I could have written about it before it closed, but I feel compelled to say something about it nevertheless. Born in 1924, and living most of his life in Paris, Gillet exhibited in France, but rarely in America. Thank you, Petzel Gallery, for correcting this oversight. Originally an abstract artist and associated with L’Art Informel, Gillet started looking at Goya, Ensor, Rembrandt and others, and switched to figuration, becoming what to my eye is an artist of great emotional depth and power. Often painted with his fingers, and with facial features blurred into oblivion, the figures in his paintings from the 1960s-80s shown at Petzel emanated what felt like post World War II existential angst, as if they’d lost their souls, as if they are here but not here, as if the death and destruction from the war years still devoured their beingness. At some point Gillet learned he had polio, and his later paintings on view upstairs felt not so much portraits of a humanity lost and empty, but rather of self-portraits, of a man fearfully watching his own death creep up on him, his own loss of movement, his own obliteration into the dark void. These later paintings I felt were even more intensely gripping than the earlier ones. I was lucky to see this show with Cathy Diamond, whose brilliant eye and our long discussions, helped me walk into Gillet’s world. Thank you, Cathy!

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