Mel Bochner | New Paintings
Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Mel Bochner. One of the preeminent figures in the history of conceptual art, Mel Bochner has used verbal, mathematical and geometric systems to motivate the content of his work since the mid-1960ʼs.
This exhibition continues his exploration of language in painting, and painting as a language. As in earlier series, each painting begins with an initial word followed by an array of synonyms ranging from the polite to the perverse. In the twelve paintings in this exhibition, the words are painted monochromatically, either all white (“white-outs”) or all black (“black-outs”), in free flowing enamel paint, against bands of vibrant colors.
Using a technique called “back-painting”, whichcan be found on Greek vases, Bochner then partially paints back into the background, in the same color, creating an illusory outline for the letters.Against the exuberant, changing colors of the bands, the words are engulfed in a world of color and spatial ambiguity that makes their existence even more tenuous.
As the mind goes back and forth between reading the texts and experiencing them as color and shape, language begins to lose itʼs authority, literally melting before the viewerʼs eyes. Roberta Smith, in The New York Times, wrote of Bochnerʼs work in 2007,
“The new paintings unleash something malicious, sharp and funny that has always lurked beneath the surface, conveying the rage of life while maintaining the artistʼs characteristic surface of elegance, intellect and formalism. In a sense they are Expressionistic works, filled with pain, and grinning and bearing it.”
Mel Bochner (born 1940) lives and works in New York City.
Mel Bochner (born 1940) received his BFA from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1962 and received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts in 2005. In 2011, he had a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., followed by a touring retrospective, “If The Color Changes,” at Whitechapel Gallery, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Serralves Museum, Portugal. In 2014 he had an exhibition, “Strong Language,” at The Jewish Museum in New York. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou, Paris and the Tate Gallery, London, among many others. He lives and works in New York City.