The Joys of Watching Paint Dry

new.shiver, “The Light Under” (2016–23), oil over acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches

The Elders, the debut exhibition at Tibor de Nagy (April 20–May 26, 2023) of the anonymous artist new.shiver, follows on the artist’s first, largely unheralded, similarly titled exhibition, New.shiver: The Elders, at Satchel Projects (April 21–May 22, 2022). After seeing this person’s posts on Instagram, exchanging a handful of brief messages, and seeing the actual paintings at Satchel Projects and, now, Tibor de Nagy, I am taken by the artist’s patience, which is not emphasized in the work. No overt signs of labor and struggle can be discerned in the exhibition’s 20 intimately scaled works — all between 4 x 5 and 11 x 14 inches, composed of different densities of paint — which have a tangential relationship to gestural abstraction.

When I began thinking about the history of oil painting and the different ways the labor of mark making has been considered historically — from the artist’s touch to the level of their craftsmanship to the time it takes to complete a piece — I realized how these works challenge long-held viewpoints about these considerations.

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