by Will Heinrich
Suzanne Caporael’s latest paintings — she numbers them sequentially, with the current show’s being in the low 700s — are divided into flat, irregular blocks of deep color with slightly blurry edges. The blocks themselves might pass for recessive Rothkos, pulling in a viewer’s gaze instead of glowing out to meet it. But the compositions as a whole look more like rice paddies at night. They’re distinctly horizontal in effect despite hanging on the wall, and the narrow boundaries between colors have all the silent force of property lines.
Sometimes a color or a figure jumps forward, like a lime-green square in “721 (The days’ noise)” or the dark central mass in “718 (The ploughman’s line).” But what makes the paintings at once so hard to look at and so hard to look away from is that they are really all background. Shapes and lines take form slowly, like shadows at night. In a row of smaller canvases in the gallery’s back room, Ms. Caporael makes freer use of bright yellows and pinks against what is clearly a light-gray background. Yet even here the depth extends only to two and a half dimensions, like a diagrammatic expansion of each painting’s layers or a column of shifting screens.