Halsey McKay is pleased to present, That Year, a selection of works on paper by Janis Provisor.

All made in the summer of 2020, when Provisor and her husband decamped from Manhattan for Litchfield, CT, these watercolor and gouache works slip and slide from suggested imagery into pure abstraction. Much like her multi-media paintings on linen, Provisor’s treatment of pigment and binder allows the physical properties to pool, crackle, divide, and reconnect like sinewy memories. Her compositions balance formal concerns with pictorial evocation and recollections just out of reach. These connections are furthered by playfully familiar titles like French Kiss, Animal House, and Atom and Eve. There is a precariousness to the work, as if the delicate strokes are just grasping onto the boundaries of the rectangle. She considers it all autobiographical as she grapples with her own emotions, desires, frustrations – the truths of life and of creating paintings. This selection serves as a preview to our upcoming presentation with Provisor at the Independent, NY which will include additional works on paper and new paintings. That Year is accompanied by texts by Will Ameriger, Judith Linhares, Kate Sheperd, Allan Schwartzman, Barbara Toll, and Debi Wisch.

I have followed closely Janis’ journey through painting over the decades. The work has changed substantially—one might even say dramatically—from thickly sculpted surfaces to thin watery ones; her imagery from isolated, schematized symbols to overall narrative fields; some with suggestions of figures and landscapes, others fully abstract. And her singularly personal and often eccentric palette has run the course of entire pantone planes, mostly resting on colors far from the primaries, each previously unconsidered, in general, and very specific in its qualities and presence. But in wanting to connect the dots of time, I see a continuous path where representation and abstraction are coequal, gesture and surface are at one, and where the decorative is knowing—all a continuing delving into what a painting can be, always with great personality and panache, while never bounded by the safety of convention.

(Allan Schwartzman)

Janis and I met about 30 years ago when we were both living in Hong Kong, a time when I really started becoming interested in the art of our time and the thinking of the artists who make it. Back then her work had a broader palette, more angst and movement and, not surprisingly, always infused with some Asian references.) I can’t look at these new works as anything other than an extension of the artist’s practice as I can no longer separate artists from their work. In these “Covid” watercolors, I see the humor, whimsy, complexity, and dare I say agita of Janis’s earlier work, but what screams out in the most subtle manner is the paring down of the palette and the emotion. These are clearly the work of an artist with tremendous confidence and conviction as they are as much about the removal of superfluousness as they are about resolution. I see a lot of eyes peering out, perhaps asking about the human condition and what it is that matters. Wasn’t Covid a time where we were all pondering what to edit out of our lives to simplify the palette, establish new boundaries, and be our authentic selves?

(Debi Wisch)

The beauty of long friendships is seeing how people change and stay the same. I have known Janis Provisor for over fifty years. Her early work shown at the Holly Solomon Gallery in the late 1970s distinguished its self with an abundance of thick paint right up the edges of the canvas making the works feel like cream pies. These paintings were all about process and how a painting can speak to the viewers body and sense of touch. The current works see the painting process through a similar lines, at the heart of the matter is gesture and sensitivity to materials that are unrushed and unlabored. The outcome is a startling combination of authority and abandon achieving a dramatic clarity of vision.

(Judith Linhares)

A lot of artists tend to remake the work of their younger years as they age. Some, however, take the tools they have perfected and plunge ahead, breaking new ground. Janis Provisor always had a deft touch and a painterly sensibility. Her new work takes that touch and opens up the page or canvas as only a creator with the self-assurance of age can. She knows how to use space and color and deftly deploys both with what appears to be a minimum of effort. These drawings are mark-making at its most concise. Her imagery may be similar to her earlier work, but the execution is that of a painter who knows what she wants and how to achieve it.

(Barbara Toll)

The work hovers…between oh, I know that style, but no, this is something I love which I’ve never seen before. When I first saw Janis’s work last summer in the gallery I was simply delighted. It was a breath of air. A testimony to the act of being thoughtful and carefree all at once. I envied the broad strokes, the technique hidden within its freedom. How does someone convey such innocence with sophistication at the same time. I trust it.

(Kate Shepard)

Recent paintings and drawings by Janis Provisor are just the right thing at just the right time. She is and has long been a singular voice with a continually fresh perspective. I believe the world is now ready to catch up. Masters of advantage via diminution, her new works demonstrate a dexterous swiftness and poetic deliberation. Here colors, shapes, and gestures roam, congregate, cavort, nestle, and sometimes even jostle, provoking the viewer to follow and respond, and, at last, to revel in wonder.

(Julie Joyce)

I like these significantly more than the paintings. And I like the paintings to begin with. Incredible confidence and spontaneity. Plus I love your totally unique (i.e. weird) color-sense. It shouldn’t work but it does

(Will Ameringer)

Janis Provisor was born in Brooklyn, NY, and currently resides in Litchfield, CT. She received her Masters Degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in California. Solo exhibitions include Barbara Toll, NY; Dorothy Goldeen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; Holly Solomon Gallery, NY; Reed College, Portland, OR; University of California Berkeley, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA. Group exhibitions include Crown Point Press, SF, CA; New Museum, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Kaoshing Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Tucson Museum of Art, AZ; Aspen Art Museum, CO; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; MoMA PS1, NY; Brooklyn, Museum, NY; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Provisor’s work is held in the permanent collections of Ludwig Museum, Aachen, Germany; University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Oakland Art Museum, CA; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; Yale Gallery of Art, CT; National Gallery, Washington DC; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA; Mumok-Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria and the RISD Museum, RI, among many others.