Stephen Mueller’s bold expansive compositions are first and foremost about the pleasure of seeing yet their decorative qualities belie a cerebral complexity that is deeply rooted in color theory and an extraordinary mastery of the idiosyncrasies of paint. Mueller received his MFA at Bennington College in 1971 where contact with color fielders such Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Nolan would sow the seeds of his strikingly illuminating color relationships. Mueller’s paintings play out on several incongruities. He was an extraordinarily disciplined painter, yet his compositions are not planned out; his arrangements appear to be symmetrical but in fact only carry the suggestion of symmetry; his paintings are smart but thoroughly stripped of pretentiousness. Muller’s symbolic shapes are deeply influenced by Tantric art and music, the philosophy of Buddhism and textile design. Although deeply admired by fellow artists, his work was never sufficiently appreciated during his lifetime and material success as well as institutional recognition evaded him. Perhaps that puts Stephen Mueller into the same distinguished company with Hilma af Klint whose exhibition at the Drawing Center in 2005 he most certainly saw and whose color sense, complex clarity and energy are eerily reflected in his own work. At 205 Hudson Gallery through October 28.