Patricia Turnier makes paints smoky, atmospheric images. Done in modulated egg-shell whites and neutral tones heightened to the fluffiness of storm clouds, the works are so loose they could be images of vapor or simply abstract fields. There's a nostalgic, romantic bent here that remains sweet and dangerously tame.
Three small works collectively called "Coastal Ranges" are kept nocturnal and moody. Crisp edging contributes a plastic and psychic tension otherwise missing. Turnier begins to tap that ferocious sublimity that raises this sort of work above Sunday realism.
Like a jolt, we move into a show of hot, red, apocalyptic abstractions by Clark Walding. Formerly a figurative artist, Walding has retained his vigorous gestural approach to pigment, making molten surfaces and incorporating passages of charred wood. In "One Inside the Hall," a tiered structure embedded in an expanse of gnarled paint suggests a ladder or shelter offering a frail handhold in the maelstrom of a churning void. If Turnier's work lacks bite, then Walding's--much like Robert Morris' last fiery works on similar themes--suffers from a bit of histrionic excess. (The Works Gallery, 106 W. 3rd St., to May 28.)