Larry Zox, Banner, 1962, 72 x 72 inches, oil, paper, staples on wood panel
In the small back room at Stephen Haller through August 5, is a rare treat -- a group of powerful collages from the 1960s by Larry Zox. Ranging in size from very large to very small, these works are revelations -- glimpses into the history and sensibility of a painter known for clean and elegant geometric abstractions. The most exciting thing about these collages is the fierce physicality with which they were executed. Heavy paper is painted, torn and stapled to wood supports, creating bold muscular objects, with every aspect of the process exposed. Each work consists of only a few colors set in dynamic relations of contrast and spatial equilibrium with a wonderful variety of hard, torn and scumbled edges. Here we witness Zox working his way out of NY School painterly conventions, and discovering ways to simplify his space and structures. He will of course ultimately arrive at a cool refinement of color and geometry to which these important early works now stand in singular contrast.