Mary Heilmann

Ellsworth Kelly, Yellow with Black and White, 2013, oil on canvas, three joined panels, 80 1/2 × 50". © Ellsworth Kelly.

A PRIMARY ASPECT of my experience of art is the piece itself, and then what is going on around it, physically and culturally. And so to walk outside of a gallery and down the street is a powerful part of that looking. While I’m walking, I’m daydreaming about everything: criticism, theory, art history, pretty colors, the art world.

I remember seeing the Ellsworth Kelly show at Matthew Marks Gallery’s four spaces in Chelsea this past May. I walked into the three galleries on Twenty-Second Street—first one, then the next, then the next—and then over to Twenty-Fourth for the last room. Then back to Twenty-Second again.

The content of Kelly’s painting has always been the inside and the outside of the frame. In each gallery, I took in the wall, the space between, turned to look across the room, moved over to see the framing edge. I tried to see what was the white wall and what

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