Art: Magic Ambiguity

"I do not believe that art should be explicit," says Balcomb Greene. "It should be suggestive and ambiguous so that the viewer has to enter in." Last week at a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan viewers could see how magic Greene's ambiguity has been. His unearthly colors intrigue—not so much as color, but as shifting shadings of darkness and light. His forms seem to float by like changing clouds of steam, twisting into shapes that are now recognizable, now wholly abstract.

Fallen Women. Though he drew as a child, it never occurred to Balcomb Greene, who is now 57,...

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