February 18, 2012
The Wall Street Journal | Fine Art Reviews
By Peter Plagens
Saturday/Sunday, February 18-19, 2012 | A21
Fanny Sanin (b.1938 in Bogota) is something of a find on the contemporary gallery scene-although she’s had a studio in New York for 40 years and has exhibited all over the world. Somehow, we just haven’t seen much of her in the city.
Early on, Ms. Sanin studied art history and printmaking at the University of Illinois, and both the desire to line up her work with a tradition -refined geometric abstraction- and to imbue it with the careful craft of the engraver are evident in this intense, compact (essentially one square room), and almost scholarly exhibition.
There’s only one sizable canvas in the show, and its presence merely demonstrates what Ms. Sanin’s continuous ruminating and revising can yield.
And even without the denouement of a 5-foot-square painting, it’s quite a bit.
The dozens of small, mostly acrylic-on-paper studies, installed in salon-style grids, start in 1960, when Ms. Sanin seemed to be waxing toward Color Field painting. But they quickly progress toward her forte of straight edges, right angles, the occasional slant, and a palette that suggests torches in the night.
Sure, it’s relatively easy to get visual drama with fire-engine red and molten yellow set against dark browns and black, but Ms. Sanin obtains it over and over again, each time in an intriguingly different way. A quietly bravura performance, this is.
Mr. Plagens is a New York-based painter and writer.
Fanny Sanín, Composition No. 2, 2009, Acrylic and pencil on paper, 35 x 37 in., 3 studies were made.