Christopher Wool: Untitled 2010

Modern Art: Christopher Wool

Having seen, and loved, some work by Christopher Wool recently, I’ve spent some time today reading up on him and, ya know, I really like what I’m seeing.

If, like me, you’re not familiar with his work, the blurb from a, magnificent looking and very expensive, tome on him by Taschen – Christopher Wool – will give you a brief glimpse into his oeuvre:

In-your-face, achingly simple, deceptively frank, the work of Christopher Wool is so very New York. Though he owes a debt to abstract expressionism and pop art, he completely transcends these genres. Whether it’s a text-based painting or an abstract spray-painted piece, his work is immediately engaging. Wool questions painting, like many other artists in his generation, but he doesn’t provide any easy answers. “The harder you look the harder you look,” he puts it in one of his word paintings, and that is an excellent example of how he states the obvious whilst provoking us to think deeper about what seems obvious.

Christopher Wool became known in the mid-1980s through allover paintings produced with rubber rollers commonly used to simulate decorative wallpaper patterns on walls. By 1988 he had hit stride with his dry, dead-pan word paintings (“Trbl,” “Riot,” “Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids”), while continuing to explore the possibilities of pattern painting. Since the 1990s, he has been developing the painterly qualities of his work, using a mostly black-and-white palette, starting from abstract lines drawn with a spray gun or layered stock images, overpainting silkscreens on linen, wiping out images, with a widening variety of media, a process that can involve photography, silkscreen, and, in the new millennium, also the computer.

Do click across to Taschen to read more and maybe pop across to Christopher Wool’s website for more recent information about art and upcoming exhibitions.

In the current absence of an accessible exhibition, I’d love to find the Taschen book under my Xmas tree but may have to settle for something a little less expensive(!) and hope for an opportunity to see his work at some future date.


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