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Jerry Saltz for Vulture

Alicia McCarthy
Jack Hanley Gallery 
327 Broome St., through Oct. 11


Alicia McCarthy's rattletrap wobbly painted grids of high-keyed colored bars that weave over and pop under one another in patterns that form in the mind then disappear make for paintings that seem simultaneously convex, concave, caving in, and breathing. Making geometry personal and systems subjective, she creates taxonomies of colored bars that mount like would-be periodic charts of we don't know what, but know we feel a need to know about this kind of organization — as if it were an algorithm for a retinal pheromone. Like a lot of painters these days, many of them women, McCarthy is painting abstract, yes, but elbowing out Zombie Formalist fussiness and rule-bound almost-monochrome and instead lets painting reassume the multitudinous way that it lays claim on us.