Who doesn’t love a good Venice homecoming story? Frank Auerbach, who won a Golden Lion while representing Great Britain at the 1986 Venice Biennale, is back in town with a small but potent exhibition at the shoebox-sized Alma Zevi gallery. As its proprietors note, this is Auerbach’s first solo outing in La Serenissima since that victory, and the show (running through August 3) features 10 recent drawings by the 88-year-old artist of a cityscape near his London studio—all quick scribbles and arrays of lines in crayon, felt-tip pen, graphite, and ink.
Seen alone, each is a thrilling near-abstraction, a tangle of color; together, though, they evince an artist gamely experimenting, trying to make sense of the space in front of him. A gorgeous 2007–08 painting, a cityscape with a teal sky and patches of peach, yellow, and green (they’re buildings, probably), is the cherry on top. A roadsign is legible in it, containing a message that could be Auerbach’s motto: NO STOPPING.