Roberto Matta, the late Chilean surrealist and Beatriz Milhazes, the Brazilian maker of baroquely flowered canvases, don’t have much in common. And yet, to look at Claudia Hershman’s paintings is to see what it might look like if Matta had painted over top a Milhazes surface. That’s chronologically impossible and also a bad idea re investment dollars, but it’s interesting to think about in terms of what gets buried and what is revealed, and how the outer layers alter the inner ones and vice-versa. Hershman’s sense for color and loopy brushstrokes is keen—not everyone can use taupe and hot pink with ease, or cover half a canvas with a pattern reminiscent of both leopard skin and bubbles. Underneath these brushstrokes lie scraps of paper—Chinese and Spanish text, a printed checkerboard motif, a polka dot one, and more—but it isn’t entirely clear why they’re there. They’re not equal in interest to Hershman’s own designs nor do they add to them; if anything, they take up space and distract. Perhaps they ought to be completely painted over. Hershman could certainly do that, and the cover-up would be worth seeing.
—Lori Waxman 11/29/15 3:25 PM