James Panero Reviews "Paul Resika: Allegory (San Nicola di Bari)" and "Paul Resika: Self-Portraits, 1946-2022" in The New Criterion

Paul Resika
Self-Portrait, 30 December #1
December 30 1987
Charcoal on paper
15.25 x 11 inches
Dated "30 December 1987" upper right and Signed "Resika" lower right

“Paul Resika: Self-Portraits, 1946–2021” at Bookstein Projects (through February 25) & “Paul Resika: Allegory (San Nicola di Bari)” at the New York Studio School (through March 6): If the classical artist begins with the past, taking lessons from the Old Masters to advance to a modern style, the modern artist might as well go the other way. This has certainly been the case for Paul Resika. The nonagenarian painter began his training with the modern master Hans Hofmann and has been advancing to more classical styles in the eight decades since. This month, Resika’s remarkable range, talent, and self-reflection are on full display with exhibitions spread across two venues. At Bookstein Projects, “Paul Resika: Self-Portraits, 1946–2021” brings together self-portraits painted between the ages of eighteen and ninety-three. Here the confluence of styles seems to span the centuries in a time-traveler’s compendium of work. At the gallery of the New York Studio School, “Allegory (San Nicola di Bari)” presents new work “derived from an obscure engraving made of a panel from an altarpiece predella (ca. 1437) by Fra Angelico.” Whether painting the quattrocento or the venticento, Resika reflects a timeless sensibility that always seems to be of the moment. —James Panero