Mark Tansey - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

  • Exhibited

    New York, Josh Baer Gallery, The Library, May 24 – June 29, 1991

  • Literature

    D. Blau, The Library, New York, 1991, n.p. (illustrated); A. Danto, Mark Tansey: Visions and Revisions, New York, 1992, p. 119 (illustrated); G. Stewart, The Look of Reading: Book, Painting, Text, Chicago, pp. 365-369 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mark Tansey’s predominately monochromatic canvases are concerned with the role of signs in modern communication. Heavily influenced by Structuralist thought, Tansey draws upon phrases by well-known philosophers to further explore the visual properties of language. In Reader,Tansey quotes the French postmodern thinker Jacques Derrida, who explained the world as a totality of meanings. “Tansey takes [the meaning of language], as the French expression goes, au pied de la lettre, and cleverly uses stenciled text, overprinted and made obscure, to create the textures of his landscapes,” (Danto, p. 28).
    Tansey avoids simple visual methods, opting instead for a more sophisticated and subtle approach to constructing meaning from his subjects. The late 1980s, for Tansey, was, “a period of deep preoccupation with the relationship between image and meaning, between perception and interpretation, a thorough process which ultimately led to the incorporation of letters of the alphabet,” (G. Werd, I. Dressler and H. Christ, Mark Tansey, Kleve, 2005, p. 7). Within the narrative character, Tansey retains photorealistic details, which create complex, conceptual arrangements that attempt to redefine the task of representation.



Oil on canvas.
77 x 49 ¾ in. (195.6 x 126.4 cm).

Signed, titled and dated “Tansey ‘READER’ 1990” on the reverse.

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $482,500

Contemporary Art Part I

14 May 2009, 7pm
New York