Amy Sillman: Labour of Painting

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Paige K. Bradley writes about the work of painter Amy Sillman.

Bradley begins: "The heritage of conceptualism and minimalism leaves a tendency to interpret a reduction in form as intellectually rigorous. If there is less for the eye to see, so it seems to follow that there’s more for the mind to read into. Amy Sillman swings the pendulum in the opposite direction; her work is formalist to the extent that we see the thought process visually manifested rather than suggested or signified. The proof is in the paint, as opposed to in the accompanying essay or press release. With a practice that grinds to dust a binary of figuration versus abstraction, the purity of abstract painting is corrupted in her work, where forms are blocks of colour floating in gentle encounters or sometimes clamouring for the eye’s attention before spluttering out into a hand, a foot, or a plumbing spigot. Her shapes and colours are gaily capricious; when they stumble and smear, they laugh it off and say ‘I meant to do that’."

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