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Andalusian Digression




Excerpted from: Syntax and Sensibility: The Paintings of Jeanette Fintz
by Carter Ratcliff

Among Jeanette Fintz’s earliest paintings are landscapes: detailed representations of specific places. Now she constructs her images on a scaffolding of geometric givens: grids built from straight lines and reiterated curves. Setting out from particulars of tree branch and cloud, she has arrived in a realm of sweepingly general forms. Or so it seems until we note the grandly structural impulses that organize her images of the Maine woods and other landscapes. Having seen this, we are primed to notice all that is specific rather than general—all that is personal and expressive rather than anonymously conceptual—in her gridded paintings. Fintz has sought order from the outset of her career and in her search she has always imprinted the clarities of her pictorial structures with lush subtleties of feeling.

A field of cubical forms fills the right-hand side of Traveler’s Reflection III, 2015—rather, this is what we deduce from the play of black and yellow lines that Fintz has laid over a field of green. Deduction is necessary because she has not outlined the cubes in full. This painting shows us a grid in the process of completion. Or possibly the grid is vanishing. We can be sure only that we are seeing a single moment in a transition so complex that the 60- and 120-degree angles of the predominant cubes have generated thirty-degree variants that hover like ghosts in the green field, even as they structure the primary shapes on the left-hand side of the canvas. As Traveler’s Reflection III, 2015, Fintz ushers the timeless and static geometries of cube, hexagon, and triangle into a temporal zone, we might well imagine that she is the traveler, reflecting on experiences that are of course individual, not universal. Yet she travels confidently in the realm of universals.

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