Frederick Hammersley

LA Louver

Frederick Hammersley’s Option open, 2000–2002, is a small oil-on-linen painting of flatly brushstroked, vibrant, curvilinear sea anemone– and coral-like shapes that suggest hues and forms undulating into and out of one another. The thing floats within its frame, whose exterior is faux-wormholed wood, brusquely whitewashed and dimpled repeatedly along its inner edge. The painting alone makes much of Monique Prieto redundant, while the frame recalls a Joseph Cornell–meets–Vincent Fecteau sculptural device. Together, both parts ask (without the Frank Stella bombast) that deciding between sculpture and painting remain optional, open.

“If I had asked . . . what are we going to talk about? what is the subject today? the answer would have come very quickly: about Frederick Hammersley, or about the paintings of Frederick Hammersley. But will the question have been about whom or about what? We always

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