Mark Barrow Sarah Parke
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NY Times 2010


545 West 20th Street


Through Oct. 30

Mark Barrow paints on stretched linen hand-loomed by his wife, Sarah Parke, picking out the all-over patterns of her textiles even as he blocks out his own, crazy-quilt-like compositions. In his excellent first solo at a commercial gallery, Mr. Barrow continues to develop his homespun abstractions (really his-and-hers).

He does this by coating the fabric with a primer, translucent enough to reveal the contrast of light- and dark-brown fibers, and then highlighting the raised portions of the weave with dots of color. Viewed from a distance, those stippled areas form shimmering, overlapping triangles and quadrangles. Looking at the works from the side, you can see Ms. Parke’s slubbed herringbones and checkerboards untouched by paint.

The Braille-like dots (it’s tempting to run your fingertips over them) soften Mr. Barrow’s strong diagonals. The distortions caused by the stretching of the linen also have an effect, especially in a couple of works with sagging stripes and squares.

The paintings’ three-letter titles — “VEN,” “NNX,” “NIH”— suggest a kind of genetic code, as well as a loom template. And these collaborative works do have some wonderfully complicated DNA: Americana, modernist geometry, feminism and Neo-Impressionism, to name just a few strands. KAREN ROSENBERG