Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stanley Whitney / Other Colors I Forget

Although spring has not quite arrived in New York, there is a wonderful show that will immediately expunge any memories of the long, cold winter. Other Colors I Forget is an exhibit of new paintings by Stanley Whitney at Team, a gallery in the Tribeca area of Manhattan.

STANLEY WHITNEY    Nigerian Smile, 2012    oil on linen  72 x 72 inches

The palette is vibrant and clear, and the loosely painted rectangles of color seem ready to sway in a light breeze. Thin horizontal bands gently anchor the color blocks without locking them in place. Although the compositions are orderly and reference the grid, there is a refreshing spontaneity to them.   

STANLEY WHITNEY   Bodyheat, 2012   oil on linen   96 x 96 inches

Whitney's transparent layering of the paint lends these paintings freshness and slow intensity. The colors are bright, and the relationships often hot, but it's best to take your time with them.  The seven canvases on exhibit range in size from 48 to 96 inches square.

STANLEY WHITNEY: (from the interview on Bombsite, see link to the full interview below)     "The only system I have really is top, middle, and bottom. Even if I wanted to make a red painting, I couldn’t do it. I have to let the color take me wherever it takes me. Sometimes I paint little paintings, not like studies, but just to keep working. And sometimes I go, Oh, I can turn this into a big painting. But then I can’t do it because I have to be totally open to wherever the painting takes me. The idea is that color cannot be controlled and that it has total freedom. One color can’t overpower another color, you know. It’s very democratic, very New York."

The work is on exhibit at Team Gallery, 83 Grand Street, through May 12.

STANLEY WHITNEY   Songbird, 2012    oil on linen   48 x 48 inches

Click here for the complete David Reed interview with Stanley Whitney on Bombsite.   It is a long interview and the discussion first turns to color, space, structure and density about half way through. Whitney also brings up connections to music, particularly jazz, and the work of Cezanne and Judd.

Click here to see some of Whitney's earlier work.

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