Review

Jennifer Boysen's paintings stretch the form

Jennifer Boyson's works hover somewhere between painting and sculpture, illusion and presence

Sometimes it’s unclear whether you’re seeing Jennifer Boysen’s paintings or simply sensing them.

Her monochrome canvases at Cherry & Martin are irregularly shaped or textured panels that hover somewhere between painting and sculpture, illusion and presence. Their forms and textures feel just barely there, not unlike the optics of a Robert Irwin construction.

They may look flat only to reveal, on closer inspection, rather substantial volumes. The effect is subtle but quite magical, playing along the edges of perception.

Painted in matte, light-absorbing tempera, the untitled works are like beautiful but inscrutable monoliths. Slim, white vertical canvases feature ridges at top and bottom that suggest columns emerging from the milky surface. A commanding, cross-shaped, turquoise piece has irregularly scalloped edges that seem chiseled like an arrowhead.

And in the corners of a smaller white square, networks of light gray dots press through, suggesting some industrial, non-skid surface but also forming a cross in the negative space. Balanced and self-contained, they feel like ritual objects.

Yet for all their tactile appeal, Boysen’s works are still resolutely paintings.

After stretching the canvas over its form, she paints the surface with a roller, which leaves an uneven distribution of paint at edges or ridges. This technique leaves the structures feeling gently worn and ever so slightly abraded, as if they were alive.

Cherry & Martin, 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., (310) 559-0100, through Oct. 25. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.cherryandmartin.com

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