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Stanley Dorfman, Timothy Isham

Stanley Dorfmans Guantanamo Blues (2005)

Before Stanley Dorfman wound up here, the South African native landed in mid-1950s St. Ives, the southwest English fishing village at the center of the British abstract scene, where he painted more or less geometrically. After a harrowing return to his native land just as apartheid was starting, Dorfman returned to the U.K., wound up directing Top of the Pops at the BBC, then came over here and did sorta the same thing for Dick Clark. Dorfman started painting again a few years ago, and although the current canvases are far more gestural than his work from St. Ives, they share a strong sense of rhythmic armature and (if you look closely) color. It’s as if Dorfman never stopped.

Equally rhythmic, quite gestural and very expansive, the paintings Timothy Isham cranked out while a master printer at Gemini in the late 1960s and early ’70s either roil with an abstract expressionist, even surrealist tangle of lines and shapes or pare down into odd, blobby bifurcations. The latter, very flower-powery, date rather charmingly, but the complex canvases suck you in and whirl you around, knocking you deliciously against myriad details. At Pharmaka, 101 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m.; thru April 29. Reception and catalog signing Sat., April 22, 2-6 p.m. (213) 689-7799.

—Peter Frank


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