R. H. QUAYTMAN: SPINE, CHAPTER 20
DECEMBER 1, 2010—MARCH 20, 2011
I deliberately use the entirety of my past work as a scaffolding from which to move forward, and consider all of my paintings as an ongoing archive. --R. H. Quaytman
R. H. Quaytman: Spine, Chapter 20 examines the comprehensive and sequential narrative found in the artist's paintings of the last decade.
Since 2001, Quaytman has used the term “book” to describe the over-arching structure within which the paintings are generated.
The artist considers each body of work a new “chapter” in an ongoing investigation of painting through the interrelationship of exhibition site, history, and abstraction.
Unlike previous chapters, Spine, Chapter 20
does not take the exhibition site as its primary source. Rather, these paintings glance retrospectively through a reengagement of images and motifs arrived at over a decade of work.
The chapter as a whole forms what the artist calls a “meta-index” and, as such, can be seen as a retrospective made almost entirely of new paintings.
Spine, Chapter 20 features five sets of dimensionally interrelated paintings. Scattered among these new paintings are a selection of small hand-painted abstractions from previous chapters which the artist calls “captions.”
These paintings serve as chromatic and tactile punctuation marks to the other mechanically produced images. Like pages that can be turned back and forth, images from past paintings appear and reappear—creating multi-layered intertwined narratives.
A story about many stories, Spine is like flipping through a datebook of experiences, people, and places. Through all the photographically based paintings Quaytman has painted a thin strip of lines, a spine so to speak, painted in red, green and blue (RGB).
These colors allude to the additive RGB color model used in computer monitors and TV screens. RGB is counter intuitive to the subtractive color model CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) generally used in silk-screens.
In the past Quaytman has used cyan, magenta, yellow and black to obtain a full color spectrum, however in these paintings the artist has restricted the palette to various combinations of red, green, blue, black and white.
The artist requested that the paintings be installed on a wall of roughly 80-feet, diagonally bisecting the gallery space. This plan references not only the page of an open book and the shape of an arrow, but most importantly, perspective itself.
In many ways these three concepts—the book, the arrow and perspective —provide the armature on which this chapter of paintings situates itself.
In addition Spine, Chapter 20 comprises the final index chapter in an actual book the artist will publish in the spring of 2011. This book will catalog all of the chapters to date.
R. H. Quaytman, Exhibition Guide, Chapter 15, 2009
Oil on wood, 12 3/8 x 12 3/8 inches
Collection of Steven Eckler and Laura Belgray
Courtesy of the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York