Lisson Gallery

Current exhibitions

Wael Shawky: The Gulf Project Camp
New York, 13 September – 19 October
Bernard Piffaretti
New York, 13 September – 19 October
Richard Long
Shanghai, 20 September – 26 October
Ai Weiwei: Roots
London, 2 October – 2 November
Stanley Whitney: Afternoon Paintings
London, 2 October – 2 November
Art & Language: Letters to Jackson Pollock Bar in the Style of The Red Krayola
New York, 24 October 



In the studio with Stanley Whitney

In advance of his second exhibition in London, entitled 'Afternoon Paintings' Stanley Whitney here introduces his studio practice, in which he hones and develops his architectonic compositions of loose-knit grids and lines: "I wanted a system that allowed me to lay colour down when I felt like it. I wanted nothing to get in my way. When I start these paintings I have no idea what it’s going to be. I don’t start with a sketch or an idea. I start by laying as much colour down as I possibly can. Once I’ve laid it all out and see what I have, then I start to mentally engage and figure out what I think is working and what I don’t.” Often, he admits, he is not entirely in control of what occurs: “I’ve always been one to follow the paintings – not that I’ve always liked where the paintings go. When they started getting less gestural, I tried to take them in a different direction, to take them back to something more gestural, but it didn’t work. I follow the paintings – the paintings run to the door, through the door, around the corner, and I run after them. The paintings start doing something, and I think, ‘What the hell are these paintings doing now?’”

In conversation with Lynne Tillman, the author of a new essay on his work, Whitney commented: "I don’t worry about what the colour does. I have to let the colour take me wherever it takes me…The idea is that colour cannot be controlled and that it has total freedom. If it feels right, if it sits right....To me, it’s all about how things feel. I never know what the colours are going to be....I’m trying to open up space, for people to wander.”

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