Compress the Pictorial Space

Richard Serra Rifts at Gagosian Grosvenor Hill London April – May 2018 

“The tendency of twentieth-century artists has been to compress the pictorial space behind the picture plane — the space of illusionism. But paradoxically, as this pictorial space pressed forward, it expelled figures and objects from the well-ordered space of representation, outward, past the surface, and finally encompassed the viewer’s space. A vacuum was created, and the numinous space itself became a subject of art, changing the terms of representation and of illusion, as light was absorbed back into the space of representation, re-creating it as an unlimited field. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, this space became the white space of the gallery — the space in which and for which art was created, the space that set the terms. The problems of representation grew into an ever-livelier artistic game, in which the threatened disappearance of the figure from the picture was often a kind of hide-and- seek, with the figure sometimes present and sometimes displaced to play the role of spectator. The displaced figure became both object and subject of the work as, in its process, it ultimately referred back to and mirrored the behavior of that figure. Thus, a phenomenological space, one of sensation, became integral to art.” [Barbara Rose on Drawing]

Wade Guyton InstallationPortikus Frankfurt Sept-Nov 2008

“The reasons seem obvious but perhaps bear repeating. If you believe art history is incremental, and that Cubism was the logical extension of Paul Cezanne, who was the logical extension of Claude Monet, and that Andy Warhol was the logical extension of Jasper Johns, then Wade Guyton seems to have made the logical step that everyone who believes in the death of painting has been waiting for. Eschewing the brush and paint, Guyton uses a computer, a scanner, and, most importantly, an Epson inkjet printer to make large-scale abstract paintings that allude to such notable predecessors as Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Agnes Martin, and Frank Stella (or Minimalism). As the “OS” suggests, the artist has figured out a way to become what Warhol dreamed of being: a machine.  Minimalism (Agnes Martin) and machine-made paintings (Andy Warhol) have been joined in matrimony.” [John Yau on Wade Guyton]

Richard Serra Vertical Horizontal Reversals 2014

Line is everywhere in Serra’s sculpture. In the cutting and sawing pieces
it is both physical edge and elemental “drawing”—a logical trajectory creating
the abstract syntax that binds together the separate elements of the work. In the
standing plate pieces of 1969, it is a function of the lead bar, which again cuts
two ways. Physically the bar is the tool of the work’s uprightness, its downward
compression on the plates the visible lynch pin to the sculpture’s existence. But
it also functions abstractly. In 1-1-1-I (1969), the single-point contact of plates and
bar gives the work both the kind of weightlessness and the sheer connectivity
of abstract line. Thus, that abstraction is read against the reality of the physical
pressures of the work
: its possible instability in the face of gravity. In the Pasadena
Base Plate Deflection—In It On It (1970), line is naturalized as a function of
the ground into which the piece is half-buried; and in an elevational cut piece
of the same year, line again serves as both physical fact and as index of the
unseen
. The immense Pulitzer Piece: Stepped Elevation (1970-1971), which is the
subject of this essay, both summarizes and deepens the earlier dualism of Serra’s
line. For there it is more obviously natural than ever before, and at the same time
it drives ever more deeply into Serra’s territory of abstraction. [Rosalind Krauss Sculpture Redrawn]

Wade Guyton Untitled 2012

“…Guyton took up digital inkjet printing as his primary artistic medium, which provided countless new options for his image-making. A number of his pieces from this time use torn-out book pages—most of them featuring illustrations of architecture, domestic interiors or artworks—as supports. A small, untitled work from 2004, for instance, employs a page featuring an image of a Frank Stella painting from his “Protractor” series, which appears to interrupt and extend the vertical red and green stripes that Guyton has printed over it. Once Guyton adopted the printer as his main artistic tool, forms like the giant, hand-drawn black X that, in a 2002 drawing, crosses out a page showing a living-room space, could now be made almost instantly via computer. His radical move away from the manual and into the digital signaled the beginning of his mature work.” [Klaus Kertess on Wade Guyton]

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