Stanley Whitney

Stay Song #24, 2018

Oil on linen
102 × 102 cm

“The color is magic, and I want the work to be magic.”
– Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney, an iconic figure in American contemporary art, has dedicated himself to exploring the infinite possibilities of color and its interplay within abstract painting.

His distinctive style features loosely structured, shifting grids comprised of variedly marked and hued rectangles—a singular fusion of carefully chosen elements from Minimalism and Colour Field Painting intertwined with his personal artistic influences. Inspired by the artistic expressions of Matisse, Cézanne, Rothko, Mondrian, and Morandi, Whitney adeptly amalgamated these influences with a broad cultural spectrum encompassing references from art history, such as Roman architecture, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Gee’s Bend quilts.

Whitney often acknowledges the impact of experimental jazz music on his artistic process. Within his emblematic paintings, each square is approached with a unique rhythm and technique, embracing surprise and spontaneity at every stage of creation. He effortlessly juxtaposes warm and cool tones, loud and soft elements, resulting in works characterized by captivating chromatic complexity. His solid grids reflect stable structures while maintaining a rhythmic, spontaneous, and unpredictable essence akin to jazz compositions. Rather than being rigid confines, these grids act as a liberating visual mechanism, enabling improvisation with color, texture, and chromatic intensity.

Stanley Whitney. Stay Song 24, Galerie Nordenhake Focus, Stockholm. Dec 6, 2018–Jan 7, 2019

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Stanley Whitney