Rita Ackermann has filled the ground floor of Hauser & Wirth’s temporary Chelsea space with graphically and chromatically strong paintings that confront the machismo of action painters like Franz Kline with a notion of feminine sensuality. Many of the paintings feature the preternatural gamins that Ackermann has painted for years (they have turned up in a stained glass window at the Lower East Side bar Max Fish and on an album cover for Thurston Moore). We see a group of semifinished figures against a chalky pink ground in the first work in Ackermann’s “Stretcher Bar Painting” series, which she began in 2015. As the title suggests, these canvases bear the outlines of their underlying crossbars. Over the course of the series, the figures become increasingly unassuming and linear, upstaged by demanding, curvaceous forms in saturated pinks and oranges, as in Stretcher Bar Painting 9 (2016), which has a de Kooning–esque bravura. The “Kline Rape” series of very large paintings takes on Abstract Expressionism even more overtly. In Kline Rape III (2016), a pink shape that could be an abstract stand-in for Ackermann’s waifs looms over lengths of thick black marks, as if conquering them. Kline Rape IV (2016) melds Kline’s signature marks with hot pink spray paint, giving the work a glow that heightens the drama. —Cathy Lebowitz
Pictured: Rita Ackermann: Kline Nurses, 2015, acrylic, pigments, and pastel on canvas, 76â?? by 102 by 1â? inches. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, New York. Photo Genevieve Hanson.