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Thoughts on Grids

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On the occasion of the exhibition Lines Crossed: Grids + Rhythms on Paper at The Courtauld Gallery, London, Sam Cornish reflects on abstract art's on-going relationship to the grid.

The exhibtion centrepiece, Cornish writes, "is a large abstract drawing by Linda Karshan but the rest is more strictly historical, stretching back to the sixteenth century… In some works in Lines Crossed the grid is simply a tool for squaring up a drawing in preparation for its transfer to a larger surface. Elsewhere the grid is perspectival, playing an active role in allowing the objects pictured to exist in an organised and convincing space."

Cornish continues by questioning how the grid functions in art in 2012: "Is it used by many artists simply as a way of ordering a surface with the minimum of fuss? Where it may have once seemed to suggest a new and radical approach to art-making, in many cases it now functions as a readymade and default mode."

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