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Stanley Whitney's Endless Time

Stanley Whitney (American, born 1946). Endless Time, 2017. Oil on canvas, 96 x 96 inches (243.8 x 243.8 cm).  Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, 2017 (2017:21). © 2017 Stanley Whitney

Recent Acquisition Spotlight: Stanley Whitney’s Endless Time

February 3, 2020

Stanley Whitney thinks of color as a kind of object, complete with its own weight, volume, and solidity. From the 1970s to the present, with works like Endless Time, Whitney has structured his paintings as irregular grids, a set-up that allows him to work through a seemingly infinite number of side-by-side juxtapositions among different colors. Beginning with the top left square, Whitney selects each new hue based on a careful consideration of those already on the canvas. 

Detail from Stanley Whitney's Endless Time, 2017. Oil on canvas, 96 x 96 inches (243.8 x 243.8 cm).  Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, 2017 (2017:21). © 2017 Stanley Whitney

Detail from Stanley Whitney's Endless Time, 2017. Oil on canvas, 96 x 96 inches (243.8 x 243.8 cm).  Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, 2017 (2017:21). © 2017 Stanley Whitney

In Endless Time, for example, he began the second row with an opaque and smooth application of black paint, which he followed on the right with a semitranslucent, streaky mixture of dark cyan and white. The work as a whole is a patchwork of variation in paint opacity, texture, and color, from the calming and creamy pale pink at center to the erratic and heavy-handed Kelly green that repeats in three fields.

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