Chris Ofili’s “Dangerous Liaisons”

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Through July 19. David Zwirner, 34 East 69th Street, Manhattan; 212-201-0420,

Dangerous Liaisons,” Chris Ofili’s fourth solo show with David Zwirner, is dominated by a tail. Its scales are sometimes blue and purple, sometimes rainbow-hued, and frequently rendered in gold leaf, and it belongs to Calypso, seducer of Odysseus, whom Mr. Ofili, a resident of Trinidad, has reimagined as a mermaid. But the real subject of the show’s four large paintings and dozens of multimedia works on paper, whatever their literary inspirations, is the fluid, sensuous curve that Calypso’s tail describes.

More than a line but not quite a volume in space, the tail binds its colors loosely. In the 10-foot-long “Calypso (Green),” with its sandy, unfinished surfaces, this makes for a buoyant, slightly unsettling effect. In two small watercolors of gilded honeycomb lattices, it’s the surface itself that becomes charged with ambiguity — clearly but not crudely sexual and transmitting a vivid sense of motion though it’s obviously static.

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