Last year MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture acquired R. H. Quaytman’s Iamb: Chapter 12, Excerpts and Exceptions, with Painting Rack, a work comprised of six paintings, made between 2001 and 2009, set inside (and to the side of) a shallow wooden storage/display case. Two of the paintings were on view in Quaytman’s beautifully installed 2009 solo exhibition at the Miguel Abreu Gallery; the others joined the group in the artist’s studio before coming to the Museum. In general, I find Quaytman’s work to be complicated, but complicated in a completely satisfying way—this is especially true of Iamb: Chapter 12. Some of the panels in the set are minimal, such as an off-white gesso panel interrupted by four vectors; others maximal, like a panel displaying a silkscreen of John Martin’s mezzotint Heaven—The Rivers of Bliss (1824–25). The visual asynchronies of the series are undermined by a unified palette of whites, blacks, and half-tones, and by their placement within the rack, with the works’ absolute proximity to one another forcing a focused consideration of likeness.
Posts tagged ‘John Martin’
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