Roberta Smith

New York Times review of

Exhibition at American Fine Arts Co.

40 Wooster St., New York City





Peter Hopkins’s work is infused with an admiration for the ideas of Robert Smithson. He seems to want to make abstract paintings that take nature, entropy, and industrial waste into account. He also takes dark, murky photographs of urban trash sites, and in both sculpture and painting, occasionally orchestrates small-scale versions of the “pours” and “rundowns” that Smithson’s earthworks made famous. This device works best in “Boxed 30 Foot Pour”.

Several paintings, which the artist refers to as “Covered Sites” have been made by soaking canvas in water taken from the East River and gluing thin sheets of nylon or taffeta to its surface. The fabric supplies pale colors like pink or cream, while the soaking and glue supply incident, a form of hands-off brushwork. The results are both rugged and beautiful, although – without the background information – they tend to have the familiar if lyrical blankness of Color Field painting.

All told, this is a highly imperfect and rather immature show, but also a highly engaging one.

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