From the June newsletter of Abstractcritical.com. Read the full article here
Modernism and whatever it is that has followed it is distinction that occupies Luke Elwes as he reviews two surveys of works on paper by Phyllida Barlow and Richard Smith, on at Hauser & Wirth and Flowers respectively. Each exhibition presents a clear narrative. Smith is shown belonging to a ‘respectable abstract modernist past’, where ‘formally consistent and visible progress [is] marked by serial production’. Conversely Barlow’s career is positioned as ‘one of a personal odyssey, unburdened by critical attention, that is largely intuitive and unresolved [and heading toward] a vibrant post-modern present’. Elwes is particularly interesting on the distinction between Smith’s elegant investigation of the picture plane and Barlow’s lack of interest in it.