Ink on paper, 30 x 22 1/4 inches (76.2 x 56.5 cm)
‘What makes Ad Reindhardt great,’ Amy Sillman opines in “notes on the diagram,” her zine essay of 2009, ‘is the split that makes up his greater whole: not just his solemn geometric abstractions, nor his uproarious collages, nor even the distance between them exactly, but the circulation between them, a circulating economy in which solemnity is equivalent in value to satire.’ Such an observation not only doubles back on Sillman’s practice, describing her own quizzical relation to AbEx – one spun on the structure of a joke –; it also figures painting itself as ‘simply one technique of the body for those dedicated to the handmade,’ as Sillman wrote for Artforum’s 2011 “AbEx” issue.
Drawn from an ongoing series, the above ink on paper is best considered as part of a network. ‘The subjectobject quality of passage’ that David Joselit names in his Painting 2.0 catalogue essay, which is here metabolised into fleshly reds, pinks and tectonic greys through an arrangement of concupiscent splotches, is presented via the further layer of mediation of an inkjet print on Arches paper. Not only are these pieces simply ‘where the indexical sign predominates,’ as Hubert Damisch has written, but they also gloss the iPhone/iPad animations and experimentations with spoken poetry to which Sillman has turned her hand –– as evidenced by Stuff Changes, a recent exhibition of Sillman’s work at Sikkema Jenkins & Co in New York. Ultimately these drawings demonstrate how line, shape and colour remain operative through multiple forms of language, and that is a relief.