Thornton Willis at Elizabeth Harris

Thornton Willis, Freedom Rings, 2009, 97 x 70 inches, oil on canvas

Painters in New York always look forward to seeing new Thornton Willis paintings, and his new show at Elizabeth Harris (through April 23) offers proof that Thornton is as prolific as ever. These are fresh energetic paintings that present playful improvisations on the grid, using vaguely architectural forms in a constantly shifting conversation with the rectangle. Limiting his devices to horizontal and vertical lines, and his color to primaries and secondaries, the emphasis is on a kind of stream of consciousness shapemaking, building complex compositions of planes in spatial flux. Much more flexible and open than the "Lattice" series from his last exhibition, these new configurations have a contingent or unresolved quality that brings them to life, like perpetual works in progress.

Thornton Willis, Billboard, 2011, 79 x 61 inches, oil on canvas

Thornton Willis, Installation View

Images from the gallery website.