Wade Guyton - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Phillips
  • Untitled, 2006, is a stellar example of Wade Guyton’s “printer drawings,” the artist’s signature and enduring body of work that began in 2002 when the artist turned to Epson printers as tools for investigating the traditional bounds of painting. Exploring the physical and mechanical qualities of inkjet prints, Guyton pulls linen through a digital printer, creating vibrant, geometric compositions laced with intricate details. These subtleties, in the form of faint stripes and smudges, reveal the metaphoric and literal push and pull of the artist’s hand and the mechanisms of the printer. Folding primed linen and then feeding it through a printer to create Untitled, Guyton embraces chance, spontaneity, and error in the work’s final composition. In Untitled, Guyton candidly records the printer’s every jam, smudge, and blemish. Imperfect stripes are separated by gaps, the density of the ink undulates and ink bleeds in organic streaks, making Guyton’s induced movement of the linen through the printer palpable.
    "I’m not hoping for an accident or even courting disaster. The works on linen are a record of their own making."
    —Wade Guyton

    Guyton began exploring digital forms in graduate school, creating compositions with standard shapes in word processing software. This simple digital composition-making evolved into his later “printer drawings.” Transforming mundane processes into melodic works, Guyton references seminal Modernist artists while crucially embracing digital production technologies. Guyton’s foregrounding of process and use of appropriation and abstraction importantly places him within a generation of post-Conceptual artists. Distinguishing the artist, Whitney Museum curator Scott Rothkopf has praised: "Guyton, we could say, has grown preoccupied with referencing the logic of reproduction within his paintings via new strategies that go well beyond the notion of their serial production or mere evidence of their printing. The impulse is related to yet distinct from the anthological silk screens of Andy Warhol or Rauschenberg and from the ventriloquized gestures that fill so many paintings today. It’s not that the picture plane merely contains reproductions. Rather, Guyton’s paintings—and recently, exhibitions—feel somehow reproduced.”i


    The bold red and green stripes in Untitled nod to the work of Frank Stella, subverting the defining qualities of Hard-edge painting, and Daniel Buren. The black circle at upper right, slightly misprinted to create an imperfect geometry and with two delicate ink bleeds recalls Adolph Gottlieb. Scott Rothkopf has further drawn analogies to Bauhaus abstractions, unprimed Color Field canvases, and Gerhard Richter’s squeegees.


    Modifying his art historical predecessors in the developing home computer age, Guyton embraces early 21st century technology to create his work. Disrupting what should be the perfect surface of an inkjet print, Untitled contains ink that slides and misaligns. Elaborating on this process, the artist has remarked, “it's interesting how the printer can't handle such simple gestures.”ii Merging the processes of recording— the printer dutifully reproducing the information it receives from the computer— and invention—the artist manipulating and re-composing during printing— Untitled embodies the elegant tension of artist and machine, working together and at odds with one another.  


    i Scott Rothkopf, Wade Guyton OS, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2012, p. 41

    ii Wade Guyton quoted in Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker, The Failever of Judgement, exh. cat., Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, 2005, p. 49

    • Provenance

      Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York
      Private Collection
      Christie's, New York, March 7, 2012, lot 65
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Kunstverein in Hamburg; New York, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, Wade Guyton: Color, Power & Style, October 29, 2005–March 25, 2006, p. 58 (illustrated)
      Phoenix Art Museum, May 10–October 1, 2012

    • Literature

      Wade Guyton, Yilmaz Dziewior, eds., Wade Guyton: Zwei Dekaden MCMXCIX–MMXIX, Cologne, 2019, p. 129 (illustrated, p. 129; Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, 2006 installation view illustrated, p. 127)

Property from a Noteworthy Private Collection



Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen
84 x 54 in. (213.4 x 137.2 cm)
Executed in 2006.

Full Cataloguing

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $252,000

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
+1 212 940 1279

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 19 May 2022