FMP - Christopher Wool, Roman Opalka, Idris Khan

During the recent 1:2:1, Wendy McMurdo suggested to take a look at works of Christopher Wool - a painter working with the motif of letters in his large format works.

Christopher Wool

According to Wikipedia “Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases” a radical and recognisable "word paintings" in which he refers to common phrases or quotes.

I like more his later works which are spectacular. He combines the static, define shapes of the printed letters with the dynamic, spontaneous, gesture lines. Some works dimensions exceed the human scale what brings the shapes of the letters closer to abstract forms than the symbols with recognisable semantic value. He works also with silkscreen and it think those are my favourite. He seems exploring the confrontation of the dynamic, emotional human calligraphy with the austere, machine-made typographic forms.

Other artists I know who explore visually the motif of writing/letter/code:

Roman Opalka

One of the most famous conceptual Polish painters. His works are fully dedicated to digits which he placed on the canvas in the same hypnotising manner for most of his life. In 1965 he begun the series “"1965 / 1 – ∞"” and painted the continuously growing numbers for the rest of his life. All paintings are the same size and have the same neutral background (with some brightness variations).

Idris Khan

I saw Khan’s works last year at Victoria Miro gallery in London. I thought about them and his other works quite often recently in context of my luminograms with source code. He exploits writing and letters in his monumental paintings and sculptures. The monochrome compositions built up with layers of sentences and words are very characteristic to his practice. Despite their coherent aesthetic qualities, the context and meaning in Khan’s works, in oppose to for example Opalka’s works mentioned above, is different in each project.

I like the poetic and contemplative character of his works. The layers of the lines of letters, words and sentences are a mysterious, abstract code.