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Jacqueline Humphries

Untitled
2009

Not on view

Date
2009

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Oil on linen

Dimensions
Overall: 90 × 96 1/16in. (228.6 × 244 cm)

Accession number
2009.95

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee

Rights and reproductions
© Jacqueline Humphries

In her canvases, Jacqueline Humphries often uses a metallic silver paint that she mixes herself to create a reflective surface. Long interested in exploring the point at which an abstract image begins to appear as a figure (or inversely, when a form becomes abstract), Humphries here depicts a central motif, which she partially obscures through further application of paint. A target-like group of concentric circles has been painted over and alongside gestural strokes and drips of pigment; the sense of motion emanating from these forms is further complicated by the effects of light on the metallic ground. Indeed, because of the paint’s reflectivity, Untitled takes on a shimmering, animate quality, appearing different from each vantage as the viewer moves around it. As Humphries has stated: “With the silver paintings, the same part will one minute be bright, as if in light, the next dark, as if in shadow. . .Any painting looks different on separate viewings, and it forms a kind of composite in your mind: ‘Today the painting did this, yesterday it did that.’ Paintings do behave this way, or rather people do, so I attempted to heighten this sense of mutability.” 



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