Art review: Cordy Ryman at Mark Moore Gallery

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At Mark Moore Gallery, New York painter Cordy Ryman exploits it with masterful nonchalance, making tasteful abstractions out of such studio leftovers as paint stirrers, strips of Velcro and sliced up stretcher bars. Cheeky yet beautiful, his 11 paintings belong to the school of ‘grunge formalism.’

The best ones, such as ‘Coil,’ ‘Red Wedges,’ ‘V3' and ‘Panda V,’ strike just the right balance between formal rigor and flippant disregard. Their combination of humble materials and earnest effort is all the more touching for being rough around the edges.

The less successful ones, like ‘Stir #3,’ ‘Scrap Bars’ and ‘Yellow Spine,’ come off as cutesy — too comfortable with their grunginess to have much of a kick.

Ryman’s 33-foot-long ‘Blue Wave’ and 13-foot-tall ‘Red Brick’ turn away from painting and toward installation. Neither as resolved as Ryman’s best works nor as cloying as his worst ones, they suggest a path out of grunge formalism, toward something that might go beyond the margins.


Mark Moore Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, (310) 453-3031, closes Tuesday.