Warren Isensee’s Breakthrough

Warren Isensee, “Pillow Talk” (2018), oil on canvas, 40 x 52 inches (all images courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery, New York)

Starting around 2006, when Warren Isensee began showing at Danese and later Danese Corey, his paintings consisted of organized bundles of straight lines, in parallel or concentric formations. Occasionally, he broke up the rigidity with a grid of irregular rectangles.

His pole stars were Frank Stella and Richard Anuskewicz, which resulted in geometric paintings with a trace of the optical. I always visited Isensee’s shows but I never felt a need to write about them. They were sturdy but not particularly exciting examples by an artist who was working with a known vocabulary but not yet made it his own.

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