Matthew Bollinger on Gregory Gillespie

Gregory Gillespie, Self-Portrait on Bed, 1973-74, oil and magna on wood, 48 x 84
Gregory Gillespie, Self-Portrait on Bed, 1973-74, oil and magna on wood, 48 x 84 inches (Private Collection)

Matthew Bollinger considers Gregory Gillespie's painting Self-Portrait on Bed (1973-74).

Bollinger writes: "When I saw Self-Portrait on Bed in person ... I immediately walked up close to it. As I approached, the painting switched from comprehensive illusion to a fragmented material world. Some of the paint Gillespie allowed to act as itself—the painted palette in the corner, caked with dimensional globs—but most of it took on various degrees of illusion. The skin on his left knee, I remember, was beyond photographic realism. As though he was building a living body, he recreated the translucence of the flesh in individual glaze layers. I had read that when he painted skin he used a dentist’s magnifying lens and a fluorescent light to depict the individual pores and, in that particular painting, I looked at all of them."