Since the early 1960s, Richard Artschwager has been painting on the rough side of Celotex, a paper composite, applying a thin coat of black paint and then building a grainy and highly textured surface from meticulous grisaille marks. Most of his paintings are based on found photographs onto which he applies a grid before enlarging and transferring them to the board. Three Women was based on fashion illustrations that appeared at various times in Women’s Wear Daily. For Johnson Wax Building (1974), the artist used a photograph of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural icon (1936–39) in Racine, Wisconsin. The work depicts the great hall of the building, with its distinctive, organically shaped desks and chairs and the lily pad concrete columns that rise between them.
Gallery label from Against the Grain: Contemporary Art from the Edward R. Broida Collection, May 3–July 10, 2006.