Sandra Lerner

Breath Series, 1999

(Click on thumbnail for a large view and to begin a slide show of the series)

Painting Series:

The Breath Series are mystical paintings that contain rich layering and remarkable sense of space. "Lerner embraces classic Abstract Expressionism's leanings toward Asian philosophical and esthetic precepts," says art writer Cynthia Nadelman in an essay in the exhibition catalog. "There are sections in her paintings that absolutely savor both of Chinese landscape painting and of calligraphy. Sometimes an entire painting feels or looks that way, sometimes it is a section of one of her window — like rice paper collage elements that feels or looks that way."
 
The calligraphy serves mainly "as an expressive design element, a painterly passage." Nadelman writes. "It can be reminiscent at once of such nature imagery as a bird in flight or a solitary reed. Or it can call to mind the combined impression of poetry and history in an inscription down the side of a Chinese painting.
 
"All of these painting events occur almost subliminally, mediated by washes and textures that create the symphonic backdrops against which these solo outings take place."
 
Cynthia Nadelman, catalogue essay
 
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Working on the floor on big expanses of canvas, Ms. Lerner combines traditional Chinese brushwork, Jackson Pollack's splatter, Helen Frankenthaler's staining and Agnes Martin's pencil lines to create pale, beige abstractions that are physically assertive yet spacious and delicate.
 
Ken Johnson review, The New York Times, Friday, December 24, 1999