Angela Heisch at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

Highs don’t always have to be speedy or trippy—or so Angela Heisch purports with her new body of paintings on view in the exhibition “Low Speed Highs.” These abstract, oil-on-linen canvases give rise to a symphony of planetary spheres nestled within sweeping curves. Throughout these otherworldly visions, the artist’s sharp lines and precise compositions use light and shadow to establish an architectural resonance that speaks to the history of Metaphysical painting and its penchant for allegory. (Think Giorgio de Chirico’s shadowy archways and piazzas, or Carlo Carrà’s dreamlike environments.) A Break in the Clouds (all works cited, 2022) is rich with ochre hues from what could be a blazing sun seen from a skylight or the titular clearing. From another perspective, the painting suggests a crepuscular horizon line, accessible if you could only step into the trompe l’oeil space and navigate a hall of dark purple. In Floating Density, a bronzed orange softly blends against shades of moss green, rendering a hovering oval mass that seems to twist back on itselflike a Möbius strip.

The evocation of movement is key to this group of works; Heisch’s largest paintings to date, they clearly propose a relationship to the viewer’s body. From the baroque volutes that whip our eyes around in circles, to the rhythmic playground of repeated forms, to the wispy lines of pale pink and milky white that tenderly billow like balloon strings, these pictures will us to leave reality, to imagine sliding down spirals, passing through prisms, soaring into space, and drifting through celestial gases. Go on . . . take a hit.

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