Sean Molloy, (b.1964) UK

Sean Molloy wears his love of the old masters on his sleeve in recent works, painting quite literal reproductions of what look like seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century Dutch and French landscapes. Yet for all their period specificity, these images remain next to unidentifiable. They might be details of more iconic works, generic stand-ins for pastorals of the past, but Molloy considers the past as not entirely retrievable, and various formal devices inflect his bucolic vistas. Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal stripes, bars, and blocks; overall grids; more localized phenomena that evoke areas of pixilation; and, in one instance, a reversal of tone that recalls solarization disrupt the pictorial field. The forms often recall those of modernist abstraction, but equally the glitches of digital imaging. They bar us from entering into these landscapes, ambling among these Classical and staffage figures, and remind us of our distance, cultural and technological, from the solace of the natural world of our ancestors. Paradise lost.

Joseph Wolin