Wyatt Kahn - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hannah Barry Gallery, London

  • Exhibited

    London, Hannah Barry Gallery, Wyatt Kahn: PAINTINGS, 29 September - 11 November 2012
    London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America Today, 28 May - 9 September 2014

  • Literature

    Abstract America Today, exh. cat., Saatchi Gallery: London, 2014

  • Catalogue Essay

    Sideways forms part of Wyatt Kahn’s endeavour to challenge the traditionally-shaped canvas. Originally inspired by the human figure, the strategically arranged panels are grouped together to create and highlight absence within the whole and to break conventional continuity. The work features a certain ambiguity: whilst the intensity of the monochrome palette initially implies a certain flatness, the amalgamation of components and forms creates a powerful interplay between structure, surface and composition. The large scale, minimalist construct of the work facilitates its inclusion in the early period of modernism, similar to the shaped canvas work by Frank Stella. However, there is a certain element of the haphazard that challenges the tropes of abstraction. 'I would like the viewer to experience the errors in the process that reveal my hand, and a very human experience of imperfection.' (Wyatt Kahn, Saatchi Gallery)

    Kahn’s oeuvre evolved from his functional desire to question the dimensions of painting by changing the relationships between 2 and 3D. By arranging irregular shaped canvas parts into larger, sculptural works, he creates compositional innovations that both create and disturb perspective. The results are haunting, ethereal spaces that instigate interaction and challenge the observer to question their subjectivity. ‘There is no pop or kitsch in my work. Either the viewer feels what I set out for or not. An artist can only control the object, it is up the object to interact with the viewer.’ (Bushwick artist profile: Wyatt Kahn, Mimi Luse, 2009)

    Sideways creates illusions in the suggestion of dimensional manipulation and potential distortion. The various parts exist both individually and in dynamic relation to one another to shape an ambiguous yet comprehensive whole. The modernist forms avoid conformist limitations but also challenge the harsh physicality typical of Stella’s works. Kahn has managed to integrate fragility into the concept of spatial abstraction. The imposed lines fan out and converge across the piece in a manner that implies the human ribcage and highlights the corporeal and delicate elements in an otherwise strongly structural piece.

    As a trained sculptor whose works rather classify as paintings; the interaction between level and multi-faceted is integral to the artist’s work. The abstract composition featured in Sideways employs geometry and negative space to narrow the margin between dimensionalities to its limit. Citing Jay Defoe as his main artistic influence, Kahn admires the endeavour of ‘[pushing] painting to the limits of sculpture. I am trying to push sculpture to the limits of painting.’ (Bushwick artist profile: Wyatt Kahn, Mimi Luse, 2009)



raw canvas on panel
200.9 x 162 cm (79 1/8 x 63 3/4 in.)
Signed, titled and dated 'SIDEWAYS Wyatt Kahn 2012' on the reverse.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £122,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 15 October 2014 7pm