PRINT September 1979

Space and Subjectivity: Four Painters

Three dimensions are real space. That gets rid of the problem of illusionism and of literal space, space in and around marks and colors; . . . actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface.

—Donald Judd, in “Specific Objects,” 1965

THE FRONTALLY OF PAINTINGS immobilizes us. By its figure-ground relationships paint on a flat surface substitutes for relations of actual presences, texture and color, drowning will and intellect in sensation and emotion. To turn from real space to the conventional format of painting is to turn from action to stasis, from the here and now to vicarious existence in a projected future or a fixed past, even, possibly, from participation to alienation. Yet for artists in recent years to have found it worthwhile to take this turn again is only convincing, I think, because the source of expressive energy in art is found not in

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