Scott Indrisek interviews painter Jack Whitten on the occasion of Whitten's exhibition at Alexander Gray Associates, New York, on view through October 12, 2013.
Discussing the acrylic collage technique in his recent paintings, Whitten comments: "Collage has been sort of the keystone of modernist thought. With Picasso, with Matisse. What I have done is remove the paint from the canvas, which makes it physical. I can pick it up and hold it in my hand, I can cut it and I can reapply it. This is the essence of the notion of making a painting as opposed to painting a painting… I make these strips of acrylic beforehand, all in different shapes. And then when I put the strips into the wet field of paint, they relax. It’s very conceptual. Everything comes together with the last step. This is not an overlay, that’s an inlay; it’s inlaid into a field of wet acrylic, and when that happens, you get a strange spatial juxtaposition. For painting, that’s a new space."