Jan Groover. Untitled. 1988

Jan Groover Untitled 1988

  • Not on view

Everything in this photograph is utterly artificial, beginning with the painted backdrop. Its mottled forms create an impression of light, which complicates the shaft of genuine light that Groover has introduced from above on the right side of the composition. These effects enliven the somber beauty of the picture and participate in a visual balancing act that also includes the table and all the objects on and around it, which the artist has painted before arranging them. The imprudent red at the lower left adds to the impression of a voluptuous whole.

Since 1978, the still-life genre has been the focus of Groover's photography, the arena in which she has tested her conviction that "formalism is everything." That declaration may be understood to mean that the artist's pictorial decisions-what color meets with what color, how shapes are seen in relationship to each other and to the space they occupy, the scale of forms within the picture-are enough to create a world of meaning. Pursuing this conviction in the closed environment of the studio, Groover has, in fact, created a seemingly infinite variety of visual experience, as rich and surprising as life outside.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 332.
Chromogenic print
16 9/16 × 23 1/8" (42 × 58.7 cm)
John Parkinson III Fund
Object number
© 2021 Jan Groover

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