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Stanley Whitney, Untitled, 1996, graphite on Japanese rice paper, 12 5/8 × 16 7/8".

Stanley Whitney

Lisson Gallery | 138 10th Avenue | New York

Stanley Whitney, Untitled, 1996, graphite on Japanese rice paper, 12 5/8 × 16 7/8".

I’d been waiting for a show of Stanley Whitney’s drawings for a long time. Catching sight of them periodically in his studio, or in the back room of a gallery, I’d always been amazed. Whitney is, as should now be apparent, among the supreme colorists of contemporary painting, but what’s amazed me in his drawings has been his mysterious ability to communicate the variable weights and densities of color, as he does in his paintings—without actually using color at all, instead relying on pure line to express, as if through metaphor, chromatic differentiae.

Conjuring color through its absence turns out to be just one of Whitney’s tricks with drawing. This densely hung selection of seventy-five works on paper, all Untitled, included works in both black-and-white (mostly graphite) and color (acrylic marker, colored pencil, or crayon) and showed unexpected range. This diversity might

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