Like a correspondent in the standardized Western mode, Stanley Whitney approaches the blank page of the canvas and begins to write his sentences, word by word, from the top left corner, concluding at the bottom right. His words, blocks of vibrant color, are laid side by side – individual utterances, following one upon the other, creating full thoughts; saturated statements of luminosity. The artist’s process continues until the paintings are so loaded that they threaten to explode. In his view, the paintings succeed when, despite their scale, they become so crowded that it appears as though a single wall could not contain them.
These paintings are as much written as they are constructed, moving the viewer’s eye across the paintings – laterally first, vertically second – never allowing that eye to rest in one place for too long. In these paintings, colors are not only butted up against each other – at one moment seemingly contained by the horizontal bands, at other times careening off the edges of the canvas – colors also lurk behind colors, sometimes bleeding into each other.
The modules of painted color can be seen either as paintings within the paintings or as building blocks used in the construction of the picture’s façade. Once the idea of an architectonic reading is placed in the mind of the viewer, it seems impossible afterward to ignore it. Windows, piled on top of windows, create ramshackle tenements of light.
Whitney was born in Philadelphia in 1946, lives and works in New York and Rome. Attended courses at Yale University, at Kansas City Art Institute and at Columbus College in Ohio. Numerous exhibits since the 70s, including the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, The Studio Museum Harlem, Jack Tilton Gallery New York, Magazzino d´Arte Moderna Rome, Zerynthia Rome. He has been awarded with the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship in 2002. In the past forty years since he began showing his work he has never wavered from his intense commitment to a rigorous and reduced manifesto of abstraction with limitless possibilities.
Stanley Whitney will present a show of new paintings at Team Gallery. The exhibition will run from the 7th of January through the 6th of Februrary 2010. The gallery is located at 83 Grand Street, cross streets Wooster and Greene, on the ground floor.
Text provided by Team Gallery