Dorothea Rockburne. Guardian Angel, II. 1982

Dorothea Rockburne Guardian Angel, II 1982

  • Not on view

Without depicting angels literally, the Angel Series reflects Rockburne’s interest in the types and hierarchies of angels depicted in many works of Western art history. Like all of the works in the series, Guardian Angel has a folded structure derived from the mathematical principles of the Golden Section. It occurred to Rockburne as “wonderfully challenging, in fact a little devilish, to take angels out of their normal religious background and plunk them into the mathematical realm.” This series also marks the introduction of watercolor to Rockburne’s work, although its rich, vibrant hues are atypical of the medium. She achieved them by applying undiluted, unmixed pigment to both sides of sheets of smooth translucent vellum, whose surface, being less absorbent than paper, allowed the watercolor to retain its brightness. The resulting color highlights the physicality of the vellum, further activating Rockburne’s manipulations of this support.

Gallery label from Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself, September 21, 2013–January 20, 2014.
Watercolor on vellum
75 x 53" (190.5 x 134.6 cm)
Gift of R.L.B. Tobin
Object number
© 2022 Dorothea Rockburne / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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