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.

Ying Li at Alice Gauvin at NADA
Ying Li is an improvisational painter par excellence. She also is an observational painter par excellence. At her current show, up through Feb. 1, at Alice Gauvin Gallery’s popup space at NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance, 311 East Broadway), oil paintings pulsate with the thick goo of color straight out of the tube, with mixed grays deftly tuned to chromatic color chords, and musical swings of the brush animating the rhythms of the painting. These paintings first read as exuberant AbEx paintings, but gradually the original motifs poke their way through, as all paintings were made in direct response to something specific seen. Here is a watermelon, there a Christmas tree with ornaments, here a landscape from Ying’s many travels abroad and nearby, and there a vase of flowers. Sometimes unusual juxtapositions occur, however, for instance, a landscape unrealistically abutting a large bouquet, as two paintings form one large diptych in a continuous movement of paint, where the instinctive painterly impulses make these seemingly incongruous motifs believably belong together. Ying’s paintings do something else too, as viewing distance transforms meaning in surprising ways. Naturally, details become clear on close examination, but more interestingly, on close viewing, each painting becomes a sculptural tour de force of thick colors swirling 3-dimensionally over, under and alongside each other. At mid-range, the 3D paint buildup fades back, and the syncopated dance takes over, and from across the room, suddenly a whole space of volume and light miraculously emerges. Also in the show are intimate, quieter mixed-media works on paper painted in front of the landscape, and here the light sings through sensitive color moves, where small flecks of oranges are pitched in perfect balance with the larger green expanses, or grays move with more saturated color into an after-the-rain lush depth of atmosphere, and the intuitions of a painter, completely at ease with her materials, weave into the paint and out to us. The exhibition’s catalogue essay, written by Jennifer Samet, perceptively relates Li’s intriguing biography to her art, beginning with the artist’s birth in China, her father’s arrest during the Cultural Revolution and her own hard labor during this time, to her love of traditional Chinese artists and poets, her first week in NYC discovering MOMA’s master collection and also jazz, her art studies in America and China, and so much more. Alice Gauvin’s own essay rounds out the story with a poetically visual and descriptive essay of Ying Li’s art.