Sandra Lerner

Tao, 1975-1977

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

Painting Series:

Sandra Lerner's, "Tao Series IV" is a beautiful painting that raises a serious of question. Seven-and-a-half feet high and ten feet wide, it exists as a single delicate area without dramatic accents, a subtly unified surface more like a page from a book, in spirit, than the wall-sized composition that is is, making use of collage, impasto, stains and semi-calligraphic squiggles against a background almost imperceptibly divided into rectangular sections. On either side, two large forms, like ghosts of the ancient trumpet-shaped Chinese bronze ritual vessel called ku, invest the painting with echoes of ceremonial functions. The tonal values are so close that they virtually disappear in a photograph: hence no illustration here.
The question is, what can you do with a painting of this size, if you aren't a museum and don't live in an enormous house? I know that one enthusiastic prospective purchaser went back to New York to check the dimensions of what he thought was the perfect spot in his study, and found the union impossible. Maybe, as one solution to the producer-consumer imbalance, painters who work in big, airy studios should contract into the dimensions of a New York apartment in order to develop a sense of salable scale.
» May 9, 1976, John Canaday, New York Times