Nola Zirin

Review Jill Conner

painting entitled Suspension by Nola Zirin
Suspension oil, enamel and glitter on canvas 72 x 52 inches

December 18, 2013 to January 21, 2014

Nola Zirin’s recent solo exhibition titled Stardust features fifteen new works that introduced fifteen new paintings that introduced a unique, visual dynamism into the genre of abstraction while still reflecting the artist’s signature layering process. Zirin rephrases pictorial space by exploring sweeping, painterly gestures that are set at sharp angles, creating a suggestion of three-dimensional space, placeless but familiar within the experience of one’s subjective perception. Along with four very small collages Stardust presented eight large-scale paintings that wove glitter into painted surfaces, touching upon the flicker of memories, photograms and film stills within the urban haze of New York City.

The smoky atmosphere rendered in Voyager shows a swirl of gold and yellow paint shining across a black surface, laced with a white silhouette. Within this space measuring five-feet square, dark golden shades swirl and dance across the painting’s far left margin as hints of industry and time fall to the center. Suspension measures six-feet by four-feet and features a vortex of colors that collect off-center, suggesting either a broken window or stained glass. Blue and black paint drips from above and below as this geometric mirage begets curiosity.

The black, gray and white squares that populate Inventions #23 is of a similar scale but far more subdued. The blur of white over black seen across the painting’s background suggests this as a metaphor of a film still – or, more precisely, a photogram. Orbit, however, presents a mesmerizing red orb that appears suspended within a cross-hatch of gray, black, white and sky blue colors. Hypnotic, geometric renditions appear in three additional pieces titled Elliptical Variations, The Big H, Suspension Study and Super 8.

The artist hints at Japanese sumi ink drawings in two untitled pieces that feature a thick, lucid black line of ink that arcs across one moon-like surface, while the other embellishes the empty background. In the horizontal painting titled Nocturne the background is changed to black and the lines are white yet just as serendipitous. The collages take one back to a point in time that no longer exists – a place from the early 20th-century in Coney Island called Dreamland. Nola Zirin transforms time in each piece seen throughout Stardust, shifting it from the typical angst-filled moment to something other, a sparkling mystery.

Jill Conner, New York City