the critical state of visual art in New York
September 15, 1997

David Geiser
Kim Foster Gallery through October 1
by J. Bowyer Bell

When DAVID GEISER is good, painting when the spirits are with him and with the wind at his back, he makes work as good as any on the scene, work of world class: profound, complex, beyond style and the times. And at Kim Foster the wind is blowing, no need to ask the critical weatherman. Here, the bits and pieces, the organized forms, the construction in part, the muddle of means come together in a whole surging across the walls of the huge gallery.

The very big works - wall size but not giant - are truly splendid. On any wall they would change not only the space, the room, the light, but the viewer. Move the sofa and put up a Geiser: put up the huge - twelve feet by eight feet - gray combination, Cenote, part collage, part paint, organic and elegant, way beyond third-generation abstract expressionism or neo-this or novel imagery. Bright, aggressive, not child of strategy or exercise in novelty, but simply strong, bright, beautiful.

If you are lucky you can take it with you, move the sofa, change your life. If not, come and look at where painting will take you, painting that rests on the classical verities, the resonance of the city, the commitment of decades.

The exhibition is all but installation, small blue mushroom caps

blooming on the wall, the paintings, various sized and shaped, mostly his trade-mark blue - Flash Blue, color with dash, that outshines Yves Kline's International Blue.

The work in blue must blow at night, radio-activated by space creatures. And most of all the big, beautiful works are magisterial, icons of our time, debris and detritus given life, twisted echoes of a mystery biosphere, hints and guesses and most of all a total impact: Wow! paintings.

If you don't like them you will know why: too bold. And if you do you will like them at once and be bowled over. Despite the subtle means, the keen touch and light hand, these remain robust, rambunctious works - no quarter given. Take them and enjoy, or go elsewhere for different ideas and surfaces and symbols. Here you get Geiser, raw, powerful, elegant and Geiser in full flight.