Van Doren Waxter is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works from the 1980s and early 1990s by the late painter Moira Dryer (b. 1957 – d. 1992), on view from April 4 to May 24, 2019 at 23 East 73rd Street. Featuring a dozen works, the exhibition will include paintings on wood panel, rarely exhibited works on paper, and printed ephemera from the artist’s lifetime exhibitions. This marks the gallery’s third presentation of Dryer’s work, following two exhibitions organized by gallery partner Augusto Arbizo in 2014 and 2016. The show anticipates a forthcoming Moira Dryer solo survey entitled Moira Dryer: Back in Business, organized by Lily Siegel and Klaus Ottman, which opens at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. in January 2020.
Dryer’s work is synonymous with the idea of soulful abstraction, during a period of New York art when expressive figuration and appropriation— the Pictures Generation—were the most followed and supported movements. Dryer eschewed representation and irony, and instead developed and pursued a practice which manifested itself as very deliberate and rigorous abstractions – in terms of craft and optical generosity – imbued with authenticity and personal wit. Her paintings are highly considered objects, often customized in format and presentation, sometimes including sculptural elements that project into the viewer’s space. She often proposed contradictory ideas in a single work, exposing a rich internal dialogue about the modernist conventions that her work both references and defies: flatness and illusion, silence and movement, and picture and object. Paintings such as Pop (1989) and Untitled (1991) are visually charged, graphic abstractions whose illusory effects belie their immediacy and painterly touch. In these emblematic works, along with others in the exhibition, seemingly straightforward objects emit a distinctive and penetrating aura of mystery.
David Rhodes, writing in The Brooklyn Rail, asserts that Dryer was an “innovator” and that “her work succeeds in accentuating the decorative whilst remaining sculptural, ambiguous, and pleasurable.” Art Critic Jerry Saltz, remarking in New York Magazine on the artist’s use of pulsating, iridescent color, enthuses, “all this gives Dryer’s work visual juice — something that makes it feel flaunting, present, and not false.”