Matthew Marks: Stanley Whitney "How Black is that Blue?"
The only system I have really is top, middle, and bottom. Even if I wanted to make a red painting, I couldn’t do it. I have to let the color take me wherever it takes me. I think about the Gee’s Bend quilt show. […] The way that it’s a little offbeat, polyrhythmic; the way that things move. Nothing’s straight. Nothing’s regular. Everything’s a little crooked. And I think that’s really what comes out of the music. It comes out of the beat, it comes out of how people walk, the way people wear their hat, just a little off. I think about those kinds of things and want them in the painting.
Stanley Whitney explores the nature of color, touch, and structure, producing a complex and visually engaging body of work. He has employed the same organizing system within his paintings for almost twenty years, blocks of color divided by thin horizontal lines on a square canvas, allowing him infinite possibilities to create paintings within paintings. The squares interact with each other through drips and overlaps proving that not everything fits into neatly packed squares. His brush strokes add dynamics to each individual square making them unique characters.