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Facing Paint: Michael Tetherow’s Recent Work

NO MOUTH IS VISIBLE on the monolithic visage that streams down the plane of each of Michael Tetherow’s most recent paintings. A mouth would interrupt the flow of paint and vision. All is eye. Muteness encourages vision and the visionary. These paintings intend to be visionary; each presents a portrait of the artist’s unconscious as a painting. All is eye as I.

Tetherow has now moved emphatically from painting as object to painting as image—from paint that refers only to itself to paint thick with memory and meaning. The change was fraught with reluctance. Like many of his peers, Tetherow felt hemmed in by the hermeticism of modernism and sought new options in figuration. The cutout holes that, since 1971, had merely declared the physicality of the overall surface of the canvas began to accumulate increasing reference. By 1978, the holes were unmistakably eyes of a mask, although the image

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