Date as content (plus more transparency)


160830a Transparency (2016) oil on canvas

Instead of putting the date in the corner of the canvas, or on the back, I tried putting it right into the composition. I think maybe I was thinking of the Mark Grotjahn show. Seeing the date like this made me think of WWII concentration camp tattoos, which is odd since I’ve never thought that when it was written on the back or smaller in the corner.

In regard to prominent production dates, On Kawara’s date series is the obvious precedent. I don’t know much about his practice, but I’m guessing his conceptual reasons are quite different to mine.


On Kawara [installation view of Date Painting(s) in New York and 136 Other Cities, 2012]

I wrote the date and letter code on my painting before doing anything else, and it immediately broke up the space of the canvas. It made it seem like a page in a note book. That made me more confident about using the remaining space to continue practicing my painting in piecemeal sections, as opposed to composing a picture. Of course, it becomes its own kind of composition, but still I like the reduced pressure in the idea of using oil-on-canvas like a note book.

This reminds me of Keith Tyson’s Art Machine Proposals, although, as with Kawara, I don’t know much about Tyson’s work and doubt that we are pursuing the same conceptual ends.


Keith Tyson Low Probability Artmachine Proposals. Neon T-Rex (2000) mixed media on watercolour paper 157 x 126cm

Several other artists’ work comes to mind when I look at 160830a Transparency, including the diagrammatic abstraction of Hilma af Klint (which also sometimes includes transparencies) and the appliquéd quilts of Tracey Emin.


Hilma af Klint The Large Figure Paintings, nr 5, The Key to All Works to Date, Group III, The WU/Rosen Series (1907) (anyone have details on this painting? Please let me know, thanks!)

Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing 2004 by Tracey Emin born 1963

Tracey Emin Hate and Power Can be a Terrible Thing (2004)  textiles 270 x 206 x 0.3cm

While I was painting 160830a Transparency, I realised that I’d seen this kind of transparency effect before, in Kippenberger paintings like this one (below).


Martin Kippenberger (anyone have details for this painting? Please let me know, thanks!)

While I was looking through Kippenberger’s work, I noticed a painting (see below) which features a shape similar to one that appears in Josef Albers’ Interaction of Colour. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but it’s something I might research another time.


Martin Kippenberger Nachträglicher Entwurf zum Mahnmal gegen die falsche Sparsamkeit [Supplementary Proposal for a Monument Against False Economies] (1986) acrylic on canvas 180 x 150cm


Josef Albers Plate VI-4 from Interaction of Colours (1963) Yale University Press, 50th Anniversary Edition, p.93


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s