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CHARMING Detail from Brunelli’s House for Sale in Pittsburg.
Much of Tayo Heuser's work of the past decade has been fine line drawings that sometimes coalesce into patterns somewhere between traditional weavings and the works of Agnes Martin. A sharp example in her current show at Cade Tompkins Projects (198 Hope Street, Providence, through June 4) is Circle #7 (2006), a series of delicate white and yellow circles on deep blue paper. A band of vertical lines runs down the center, while angled lines radiate out from the center circle like a faint radar pulse. Or it could be a diagram of a lunar eclipse.

Her Pulse drawings, exhibited at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, from 2009 to '10, were done on shaped handmade paper so that they looked like fabric draped over boxes — bulging at the middle and seeming to billow along the edges. The drawings feature rectangles and fine straight lines in designs that bring to mind old TV text patterns or schematics for street corners. But the shaped paper upstages everything else, and it feels like a fusty gimmick.

The Narragansett artist's latest ink drawings return her to constellations of fine lines and circles on flat paper, but now the designs drift about the paper in asymmetric but still balanced compositions that might be astronomical diagrams. The lines wiggle more than in the past, and Heuser adds loose washes of color that seep across the paper. She seems to be trying to loosen up, but her washes don't yet have the sensitivity or authority of her lines. And they sit in awkward contrast to one another.

Read Greg Cook's blog at  gregcookland.com/journal.

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