The works of New York-based artist Wade Guyton (b. 1972) engage the formal repertory of modernism, from Bauhaus and constructivism to Minimal, Conceptual, and Appropriation art. Since 2005, Guyton has worked primarily on canvas; his tool, however, is not the brush but an Epson Stylus Pro 4000/9600 inkjet printer, a machine used for large-format prints. Using a computer, Guyton produces abstract paintings: he designs the motifs on the computer and then puts them on canvas using the printer; sources of error such as using a carrier material other than the one for which the machine is conceived, manipulating the color supplies, and deliberately jolting and pulling the material while the printer is working are an intentional part of this process, creating smudges, drippings, or distortions and displacements that turn a model designed for serial reproduction into a series of original objects. The productive interaction of digital and manual procedures has always played a central role in Guyton's practice. The calculated influence of chance renders each element of a series distinctive and unrepeatable. The result has pictorial qualities even though mechanical means predominate in the process of production - at the same time, however, the ostensible drive toward serial work cycles negates the claim to originality usually inherent in classical painting. It would seem that Guyton both loves the anarchical painterly gesture recognizable in his direct intervention into the process, and employs his means in very pragmatic ways. His work, perhaps unlike that of many other "formalists", is very contemporary in that it directly involves and draws upon the immediately available technological means.
The new works are all black monochromatic paintings. They were made on the same large-format Epson printer and in the same way as the works of the past three years with which those who know Guyton are familiar. As the carrier for these new works he chose a primed linen fabric that is properly meant to be used for oil paintings and not for inkjet prints. As a consequence, the brittle ground absorbs the images, signs, and letters Guyton continues to use in his designs much more strongly; the ink is distributed across the fabric instead of sitting directly on the surface, as in the earlier works. The artist subsequently used this new interaction between the canvas surface and the ink by overprinting his own works with a rectangle of black designed in Photoshop. Repeated overprinting led to the emergence of an unexpectedly pictorial color gradient. Every individual work displays the artist's interventions: the traces of movement, the various stages of ink getting denser and denser, the marks left by wheels in the wet ink, intermingled with the scratches and streaks the painting incurred when it was dragged across the floor in order to be fed back into the printer.
With the generous support of UBS Deutschland.
photo: Katrin Schilling