Tony Oursler:
Sound Digressions in Seven Colors
Feburary 25 —
April 15, 2006

NYEHAUS is pleased to present the blazingly theatrical Black Light Paintings of Jacqueline Humphries from May 13 through June 18. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication and Light Box Multiple with ten original drawings.

Jacqueline Humphries has always made paintings that straddle the seeming paradoxical space between the conceptual Minimalism of “non painters” like Robert Irwin and the “Expressionists” like Willem de Kooning or early Philip Guston.

The search for paintings that expose / highlight process while distracting the viewer’s attention with the pleasures of touch and gesture have been mined by artists like Christopher Wool, Jonathan Lasker and David Reed.

Humphries first became known for paintings that created a field of dots, each brush-stroke reminding the viewer of the intrinsic power and beauty of paint. At the same time the repetition of mark — the purposefully failed attempt to create perfect repetitions — laid out a conceptual framework that pulled her marks into the Minimalist camp.

Rarely have the exposition of process / concept and the devastating pleasure of gesture been achieved as in Humphries’s current body of work entitled, Black Light Paintings, painted, as their name suggests, in brilliant primary black light paints, ignited by the petroleum of black light. Light Source in this exhibition has been tackled through two approaches; light boxes fitted with detachable canvases of thin nylon stocking-like material, and works conceived on traditional canvas with an aggressive gestural stroke. The latter works are offset by subtle drawings created on the surface of the painting that produce a profound depth of space.

In contrast, the light boxes are painted with a more delicate touch necessitated by the sheer material that is the surface of the glowing boxes of black light. The industrial fixtures housing the black light tubes are reminiscent of Dan Flavin sculptures, reinforcing the collision of the artificial and the human to achieve an authentic pseudo-sublime. One painting, Cold Call, appears to be a translucent green veil. After looking at the painting from several perspectives the details of a beautiful ghost of a painting coalesce on the surface. The imagery is reflected much more vividly in the reflection of the metallic hardware holding the tubes.