Critics’ Picks

*Günther Förg, Untitled, 1990, acrylic on lead laid down on panel, 86 5/8 x 55 1/8".

*Günther Förg, Untitled, 1990, acrylic on lead laid down on panel, 86 5/8 x 55 1/8".


Günther Förg

White Cube | Mason's Yard
25-26 Mason's Yard
June 3–July 18, 2015

No conventional geometry distinguishes Günther Förg’s late series, “Lead Paintings,” 1987–94. Förg’s compositions are polymorphic. Muted blocks of paint are set against an agitated surface. In a few instances, squares of acrylic overwhelm a corner of the canvas, whereas in other instances, bands of color split the support in half. The eye is constantly thrown askew when moving between works, engulfed by paint. Color is marshaled to deny the viewer any affective attachment

Recall Blinky Palermo’s aluminum paintings, Times of the Day I–IV, 1974–76, where horizontal bands of acrylic alternate between the dark and the light, the effervescent and the subdued, the garish and the vibrant. Förg’s metal pictures, in contrast, are heavier and grimier than Palermo’s. Förg foregrounds the facture of his support: Scratches, scuffs, and other traces allude to an involuntary history of his material. These gestural marks are not made by the artist’s hand but by the fabrication and handling. In Förg’s Untitled, 1994, six works are arranged as if in a miniature frieze, hung close together to take account of their alternating symmetry. In this variation, the sequence unsettles the eye; each work seems to be constantly taking account of itself and its outside. In a sense, abstraction finds purchase in the gaps between pictures.