Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide features commentary by artist Jay DeFeo, Dana Miller, curator of the permanent collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, Leah Levy, Director, The Jay DeFeo Trust, Corey Keller, associate curator of photography, San Francisco  Museum of Modern Art, Greil Marcus, writer and critic, Ursula Cipa, and Fred Martin, friends of DeFeo.

Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), _Verdict No. 1_, 1982. Oil with tape on canvas, 84 x 60 in. (213.4 x 152.4 cm). The Jay DeFeo Trust, Berkeley, CA. © 2013 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy The Jay DeFeo Trust, Berkeley, CA, photograph by M. Lee Fatherree


NARRATOR: In Verdict No 1, a triangle slices across the canvas. The form was based on an image, which DeFeo found in Scientific American, of an airplane causing a sonic boom shock wave. DeFeo was fascinated with the idea of a noise becoming visible, and with the form of the triangle moving quickly through space.

DeFeo painted Verdict No. 1 in 1982. It was the first painting that she’d made in oil on canvas since completing The Rose sixteen years before. Leah Levy.

LEAH LEVY: These early paintings and the ones that followed them in the 1980s are a celebration of her return to color, to a canvas that was flexible and responsive in a different way to the oil paint that she always loved more than acrylic.

NARRATOR: Even working in this traditional medium, DeFeo experimented with her materials.

LEAH LEVY: In her new Oakland studio where this work was completed, DeFeo had boxes of tape of various sizes, colors, textures and widths, and Verdict No. 1 is an exceptional example of her incorporating and collaging those additional materials into her paintings.

NARRATOR: DeFeo used this tape—among other things—to lend the paint a depth and texture it wouldn’t otherwise have.

LEAH LEVY: Here, we can't tell even with careful examination sometimes what's oil paint, what's tape, where the edges of one form end and the tape begins, or what the layers of paint are that look like tape.