ArtCritical Pick: Virva Hinnemo

Virva Hinnemo, Two Things, 2016, Acrylic on cardboard, 76-1/4" x 71"

At times, abstract painting can seem like a received package, with little space left to think outside of the box. In Virva Hinnemo, to overplay the postal metaphor, we have an artist “pushing the envelope”—in her case, literally so. A form vocabulary and a gestural lexicon familiar from mid-century American masters Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Philip Guston meet the swift completion of their appointed rounds on flattened cartons as their repurposed, eccentric support. This strategy could have smacked of Arte Povera, Supports/Surfaces or currently fashionable “provisional” abstraction, but somehow in the hands of this Springs, NY-based Finnish artist the work manages to come across as visually sophisticated but stylistically innocent. Their charming, unforced modernism fits right into the refreshingly old-fashioned surroundings of this plush new venue, sharing quarters with another of proprietor Anita Rogers’ enterprises and thus itself an eccentric support. 

- David Cohen