The Gallery Wall and Painting


The Gallery Wall and Painting

Painting and the canvas plain have had a long standing history to the gallery and especially “the wall”, notice that I stated it “had” this relationship, I am questioning whether this is still true. I will be talking about this standing relationship and how painting had evolved to no longer having such need for this mode of presentation.

The wall is a very attracting idea for the painter, that the works almost belong to it, artists who have gone against this phenomenon are people like Vivian Sutter who overlaps and hangs her paintings from the ceiling of like christian Bonnefoi who places some of his paintings in the middle of the space. There are many more who have questioned this relationship, but one that interests me the most is Christopher Williams, even though he may not be a painter he very much questions the principle of the gallery wall.

For example, in his show in the Whitechapel Gallery called:”The Production Line o fHappiness” (image below), he disrupts the gall space by inputting his own gallery walls in the middle of the space, creating a disruptive dynamic within the room, questioning the framing itself and how it comes into presentation. He is almost rebelling against the gallery institution within the gallery walls, creating an alternate reality within the space. Not only is he creating different viewing action from the viewer, he is recycling his walls from different exhibitions and the one showing in that particular space before his show, therefore questioning the need for the perfect white wall. This increases my curiosity in relevance to painting and thinking of its framing within the canvas frame and why its so close to the wall.

Another artist which I think to be crucial to this topic would be Ron Gorchov, again he places his paintings on the wall but they almost reject the aspect of being there and the plain within the canvas frame. From the image below you can see that the paintings are curves, as if they were physically pushing the wall away, having an unusual depth with the curved edges, going against the traditional aspect of painting. For these paintings, “the wall” is the appropriate mode of presentation in my opinion as they are already rebelling and questioning this relationship with the form of the canvas frame.

This idea of placing my oil paintings off the wall came from looking at artists like Dan Graham and Pablo Bronstein, both very different, yet they explore similar “problems”, thinking about the space and the architecture of the space and how this influences or changes their work. I want to look at how painting comes into all of this, whether it can create an action from the viewer or how it can disrupt the gallery space, this being done by how I choose to present my paintings.

The gallery “wall”, this mythical being that either welcomes or pushes back the artwork, intriguing artists on how they can rebel or embrace it as a beholder of the work.