On View

‘Eileen Quinlan: Curtains’ at Miguel Abreu Gallery

'Passing Through' (2013) by Quinlan. (Courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery)

‘Passing Through’ (2013) by Quinlan. (Courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery)

Eileen Quinlan fakes left, goes right. While we were busy savoring her elegant, almost stately color abstractions in the Museum of Modern Art’s current “New Photography” show, the ascendant Brooklyn-based photographer nailed 24 small, scrappy black-and-white prints to the wall in one long row for her third show at Abreu.

She has again deftly channeled errors in developing chemicals and photographic paper to make images that bristle with tears, grayscale pools and pulsating grids, some borrowed from a snap of a doily that appears repeatedly. They may put you in the mind of paintings by everyone from Charline von Heyl and Christopher Wool to Joan Miró, but in their spacious, sometimes-curvaceous rough-hewn elegance, they could belong to no one but Ms. Quinlan.

In some works, she has scratched the surface of her film to create sharp, thin streaks, which pack an emotional wallop when they appear across a woman’s face. Pretty much straight portraiture represents another shift for the more typically abstract-minded Ms. Quinlan, and the results vary. Her subjects wear deadpan or forlorn gazes, like models in a fashion magazine. They look listless, no trace of emotion sneaks through, and so these images never really go anywhere.

Regardless, the elegantly battered abstract photo is a touchstone of today’s art, one fast becoming a cliché, but Ms. Quinlan again proves she’s one of its few masters. (Through Dec. 8)

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