Wade Guyton - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

  • Catalogue Essay

    “There is often a struggle between the printer and my material-and the traces of this are left on the surface- snags, drips, streaks, mis-registrations, blurs.”

    WADE GUYTON, 2011

    Wade Guyton, enjoying a bit of notoriety for his radical Epson Inkjet Printer paintings, first exhibited his series of black monochrome paintings at Chantal Crousel Gallery in 2008. In the same demeanor as his earlier creations, his black paintings are created with a large-format printer and produced on factory-primed linen. Guyton was inspired when he received a shipment of linen that had declined to properly absorb his perfectly rendered Epson print markings. “Frustrated and facing a crisis that threatened to end his engagement with the medium as abruptly as it had begun, he rendered a black rectangle in Photoshop and overprinted his unsatisfactory X paintings with tenebrous veils of ink. Soon, however, he began applying this file directly to the unusable black linen.” (S. Rothkopf, Wade Guyton OS, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2013, p. 28) This seeming material failure led to the fortunate creation of his monochrome paintings, as seen in the present lot. Guyton’s interest in the struggle of two materials interacting play perfectly into his new achievements stating: “I have become interested in when something starts as an accident and then becomes a template for other things, or reproduces itself and generates its own logic until something else intervenes to change it” (S. Rothkopf, “Modern Pictures,” Wade Guyton: Color, Power & Style, Cologne, 2006)

    Untitled, 2008, is an outstanding example of his exploration into the limitation of artistic language that abstraction still holds in the 21st century. Basing his artistic vocabulary upon the shapes, forms and letters of Microsoft Word, Guyton has successfully embraced the role of chance and accident into his practice. Explaining that his final images often illustrate “a struggle between the printer and my material – and the traces of this are left on the surface –snags, drips, streaks, mis-registrations, blurs.” (Wade Guyton, in Teachers’ Resource Portal, “Wade Guyton,” Contemporary Museum, Maryland) The work is never wholly defined by the final visual result but rather tracks the development of his unique process of “painting.” Ann Tempkins places Guyton into art historical context by saying "Pollock flung it; Rauschenberg silkscreened it; Richter took a squeegee; Polke used chemicals. Wade is working in what by now is a pretty venerable tradition, against the conventional idea of painting" (A. Temkin quoted in, R. Smith, “Dots, Stripes, Scans: Wade Guyton at the Whitney Museum of American Art.” New York Times, 4 October 2012).

    Historically, monochrome painting has played an important role in the avant-garde visual arts; many painters have pondered the exploration of one color upon a surface. Rooted in the geometric artists of Bauhaus and Constructivism, monochrome studies were perpetuated by New York School painters such as Milton Resnick and Ad Reinhardt. In the present black painting, a white stripe runs vertically down the center of the canvas dissecting the canvas into two halves. A second white line shoots out horizontally from the center line with a thickness and slowly tapers off into just a slight glint of white light, reminiscent of minimalist painters like Frank Stella and his late 1950s canvases, where the fine white lines are actually unprimed canvas penetrating outward through the black paint. The result is a fusing of the intricacy of minimalism with the vibrancy of printed reproduction of Andy Warhol’s silkscreened imagery. Guyton’s black paintings, more than any other series admirably documents the unavoidable failures of the mechanical process and his “paintings speak to an everyday screen culture of scanners and scroll bars, layered windows that slip in and out of view, thresholds of information that only reveal themselves when the jpeg loses focus, the printer falters, or the X gets a jagged edge. Technical failure is aestheticized but not romanticized. We do the best with what we have.” (Wade Guyton: Color, Power & Style, Cologne: Walther König, p. 82) Art critic Roberta Smith has further elaborated that the Guyton is “a traditionalist who breaks the mold but pieces it back together in a different configuration.”(R. Smith, 'Dots, Stripes, Scans', New York Times, 4 October 2012)

    Guyton has also allowed his work to be exposed to the elements of his studio. He explains, “When planning my first show of a series of so-called black paintings, it was important for me to consider the installation, the space, and the mode in which they were produced. I was not in fact a painter, and I didn't want to pretend otherwise. These objects were made with a computer and my printer. They are dragged across the floor and often are piled up on the floor for weeks or months before being attached to stretchers.” (Interview with Wade Guyton in conversation with Silvia Simoncelli, Total Abstraction, Issue 20/October 2013, p. 34) Guyton has always embraced the imperfections of his technique and the present lot, a nearly perfect black monochrome is punctured with white stripes and tiny imperfections. For Guyton his work “is a recording process as much as a production process. And I have to live with it, smears and all.” (W. Guyton in C. Vogel, “Painting, Rebooted,” The New York Times, September 27, 2012)



Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen
84 1/4 x 69 1/4 in. (214 x 175.9 cm.)

$900,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for $1,085,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM