‘Sarah Crowner: The Wave’ at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

Installation view. (Courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery)

Installation view. (Courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery)

Sarah Crowner has knocked it out of the park with her third show at Beauchene. She has once again made a series of rectangular paintings by sewing together a few irregularly shaped slices of canvas, some raw, some painted searing shades of red, orange or yellow, their brush marks just barely visible when you get up close to them. As opposed to many of her past works, though, which were all about the sharp angle, often implying theater sets through abstraction, these new pieces have undulating waves gliding across them. Their forms are simpler than in the past, which makes them even more potent.

Installation view. (Courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery)

Installation view. (Courtesy Nicelle Beauchene Gallery)

The gallery floor is also an artwork, made from more than 1,200 terracotta tiles Ms. Crowner has colored cerulean, Bondi blue and dozens of other electrifying shades of blue-green. It glows. Finely polished, it reflects the surrounding paintings and invites you to see them as spare, luxurious décor or as parts of a full installation or even as sculptural objects. (Two are held on freestanding wooden easels so that you can walk around them and take in the matter-of-fact stitching that is behind their interlocked magic.) It would make a superb floor for a tony dance club or a forward-thinking church or certainly a museum—really any setting looking to promote a sumptuous, ritualistic and thoroughly confident mode of conviviality.

In recent years, reductionist abstraction has become an easily salable, easily digested default mode for emerging painters, but Ms. Crowner is one of the rare few who manages to keep it interesting. Hers is an art about intimacy (of viewing and of making), exemplifying how minute decisions (a stitch, a stroke) can over time yield dazzling effects.

(Through Feb. 2, 2014)