Wade Guyton - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gavlak Gallery, West Palm Beach
    Modern Collections, London
    Viana Art, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    West Palm Beach, Gavlak Gallery, Wade Guyton, November 26 - December 31, 2005
    London, Modern Collections, Guyton Guyton\Walker Walker, October 7 - November 19, 2011

  • Literature

    Guyton Guyton\Walker Walker, exh. cat., Modern Collections, London, 2001, pp. 33, 34 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In early 2000, contemporary artist Wade Guyton began experimenting with computer-printing techniques to create captivating imagery. His resulting inkjet canvases achieved a uniquely digitized yet abstract aesthetic through an accidental method of production which both embraces and records the instability of the printer. The present lot, Untitled, 2005 is one such product of this technique. Three, melting letter “U’s” sit upon a black inkjet canvas while fiery orange flames impose from below. The linen surface, fed through the printer, captures every error, jam and smudge, contributing to the already unstable surface illustrated by the image of raging flames. As the artist explains, “Fire is always captivating. I thought of it as romantic, but camp. Destructive, but also generative. And of course hot. There’s a great interaction between the image and the material in the fire paintings, which I didn’t predict, in the way the ink drips and runs. The first time I printed the fire on linen was one of those brutally humid New York summer nights. No AC in the studio. I was sweating, and the paintings were melting.” (Wade Guyton in S. Rothkopf, Wade Guyton: OS, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2012, p. 200)

    Imagery for Untitled was originally sourced by the artist from a re-contextualized old book cover found in his library. After being reproduced through inkjet printing, the white, light blue and maroon U’s were added a top of the cover in a second round of printing. Guyton considers this U motif "sufficiently abstract." He says, “It felt like it could slip out of being a letter." The letter U is a symbol found across many works in the artist’s oeuvre, making this print a prime example of works by the artist. It uniquely absorbs the two most iconic symbols of the artist’s overture – the letter U and flames. As curator Scott Rothkopt explains, “The pictorial and narrative extravagance in Guyton’s fire paintings push them to the verge of melodrama. We’re looking at Us in fire after all. Their haphazard grandeur owes both to this motif and to Guyton’s constant negotiation between the technical failure and mastery, physical accident and control.” (Wade Guyton in S. Rothkopf, Wade Guyton: OS, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2012, p. 25) It is precisely this combination of controlled and accidental processes behind his works that make Guyton’s inkjets simultaneously graphic and abstract.

Property from a Private Collection, New York



Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen
60 x 38 in. (152.4 x 96.5 cm)
Signed and dated "W Guyton 05" on the reverse.

$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for $2,405,000

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 November 2015 7pm