Lisson Gallery

Stanley Whitney: TwentyTwenty

New York, 2 November – 18 December 2021

Stanley Whitney: TwentyTwenty

Lisson Gallery is pleased to present TwentyTwenty, an exhibition of new paintings by Stanley Whitney created over the past year. Color continues to galvanize Whitney’s compositions, each block of pigment dictated by its relationship to the one before it. The artist’s ninth solo exhibition with the gallery advances his exploration of color, and features a return to a horizontal format with dimensions new to Whitney’s enduring body of work.

Stanley Whitney has explored the dynamics of color for over five decades, honing a signature format of stacked, multi-colored shapes. Early in his career, Whitney featured space in between his marks, seeking a sense of airiness and light within separated zones of color. Over time colors were stacked more intimately, creating a juxtaposition of limitless range and controlled borders. These current configurations were realized amid a move to Italy and visit to Egypt in the mid-1990s. Whitney studied the stratified sarcophagi in Rome’s Etruscan Museum and the relationship between each object on Italian still-life painter Giorgio Morandi’s canvases. It was the perceived humanity within ancient buildings and architecture, Whitney’s consideration of each brick and the order in which they were laid, that led the artist to tighten the structure of his paintings and empower the dialogue between each brick of color to inform the next.  

Stanley Whitney’s universal language of dynamic color and improvisational style continues in the new paintings on view. The exhibition incorporates a group of the artist’s trademark square paintings with an arrangement that positions his profound relationship with color on a new pictorial plane. The new series, titled Monk & Munch after the American Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, translate Whitney’s sequences of color onto a smaller rectangular format. TwentyTwenty, the work for which the exhibition is titled, demonstrates the artist’s passages of color on a monumental scale. Within the conversation between every vibrant hue the artist elicits a rhythmic structure, echoing a musician moving along their sheet music. Whitney’s enthusiasm for music and instinctive cadence is displayed in his execution and even in the titles of additional recent works, including Keep on talkin’ blues (2021) and Blue Note (2020).

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504 West 24th Street
New York

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