Mark Tansey - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Curt Marcus Gallery, New York
    Galleri Faurschou, Denmark

  • Catalogue Essay

    “A painted picture is a vehicle. You can sit in your driveway and take it apart or you can get in it and go somewhere.”Mark Tansey

    Mark Tansey’s meticulously rendered monochromatic paintings question the very nature of representation. His virtuosic verisimilitude belies a host of captivating visual quirks; Tansey combines a photo-realistic treatment of subject matter and space with visual puns and oddities. Beginning with a semblance of a traditional painting process, in which the artist makes “studies” of the work before embarking on the final painting, Tansey draws from his personal archive of magazine clippings and personal photographs to create collages. These visually complex compositions are then translated to canvas in Tansey’s characteristic monochrome palette.
    In Study for Arrest, Tansey employs this same technique, beginning with a collage created from an artful arrangement of found imagery. The artist challenges himself with self-imposed restrictions on technique: by applying a single layer of coloured paint as base, only adding figures and details in white paint, Tansey only has around six hours to complete ambitious works like the present lot. These physical and visual challenges bring to mind the work of surrealist René Magritte, who was a master at visual puns as well as focused technician. To Tansey, painting is more than just representation; it allows for the transformation and exploration of reality.


Study for Arrest

oil on canvas
61.1 x 96.5 cm (24 x 37 7/8 in.)
Signed, titled and dated ‘Tansey 1989 Study for “Arrest”' on the reverse.

£200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Day Sale

+44 207 318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 October 2014 2pm