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. Through the back door, my title also pays homage to my physicist father, Irving Zinnes, whose long discussions with my mom got her thinking about entropy and tropism in the first place.
Janice Nowinski at Thomas Erben
Janice Nowinski has remained true to her vision of figurative painting for years. Her current paintings, now hanging at Thomas Erben Gallery through May 27, have an immediacy and seeming ease of execution, as if made in just one sitting, but apparently the flowing marks and colors been hard-earned through exploratory paintings not exhibited publicly. Working from snapshots, found photos, and art historical paintings, Nowinski’s small – generally around 5x7 inches represent not only private moments in time, but also vehicles of voyeurism, as if we are looking through the (generally nude) bodies straight into the psyches. On some level Janice is a formalist, contorting anatomical structures to conform to the needs of the painting’s internal constructions, finding exact color relationships that hold the painting’s space, including a sense of facial features more to interact with the painting’s rhythm than define an actual human being. But these distortions, along with the intimacy of the small scale and the quiet of the unsaturated color turn each painting into a visual metaphor, or perhaps parable, where the single instant caught in the original photo or Old Master painting becomes an eternal moment, a type rather than a portrait, a genuinely warm portrayal of the plight of the figures portrayed. The paintings of Nowinsky’s grandmother even more deeply show this empathy, as these paintings so clearly suggest a loving nostalgia, feelings of memory perhaps from the artist’s childhood, and an embrace of her grandmother and the place where she lived. Posted here are only a very few of the many paintings on view.