Tony Lewis - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The sentence is just a structure to attack, to analyze, to break down, to see what happens to language when you put it to through the process of being broken down.”
    Tony Lewis, 2013

    Tony Lewis’s text-oriented drawings, such as the superb etc. from 2012, hover between ghostly ethereality and grounded immediacy. Using some of the most basic and fundamental mark making tools, namely graphite and paper manifesting text, Lewis exercises an ability to critique his own particular language constructs into something that resembles a graphic poem – immediately recognizable as language but not as easily digested. He treats the paper in such a way as to result in it resembling something more akin to a found object than a worked artistic construct – a student’s scrap paper pulled from the bottom of a knapsack writ large. And yet, when the viewer sees that the group of text, here the letters “e” “t” and “c” are rendered in near perfect Arial font, the illusion of perfect automatism and abstraction is immediately destroyed. Rearranged and seemingly hung upon a string dangling across the canvas, each individual letter seems to be both a purely individual object and one connected to a greater whole, not dissimilarly from letters in a word; words in a sentence; sentences in a paragraph and so on – each a unique building block of the “bigger picture.” Lewis, however, doesn’t understand his language to behave in any finite and easily proscribed fashion like bricks in a wall. His “bigger picture” is panned out and blurry with no clear boundaries at all. For Lewis, language and text are much more fluid, distorted, mutable, and subjective, just as his own perception of his surrounds adapts and responds, engages and distances, without any definitive restrictions or embellishments. etc., is an excellent example of the manner in which Lewis brandishes text, here literally meaning “and the rest,” to address that which is both not present, hence unknown visually, but also understood as an implied piece of information.



pencil, graphite powder, tape on paper
84 x 60 in. (213.4 x 152.4 cm)

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $81,250

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am