We asked three specialists to pair two of their favourite works from on paper | online, a new cross-category sale which offers a contemporary approach to an age-old medium
Rachael White, Post-War and Contemporary Art specialist
In spite of the differences in their subject matter and the nationalities of their makers, I see something comparable in these two artworks. I think it’s perhaps that both artists decided to use rich, bold, saturated colour palettes together with heavy textures, whether it’s the embossed quality of Kenneth Noland’s Rains or the brushy, painterly feel of Georg Baselitz’s Untitled (Red Mother with Child).
There is also a strong sense of abstraction elicited by both artworks. As Baselitz does with all his inversion paintings, by flipping the figures in Untitled (Red Mother with Child) upside-down he challenges us to look objectively at the artwork — primarily focusing on colour and shape — just as we might do with a purely abstract work of art such as Noland’s Rains.
Anne Bracegirdle, Photographs specialist
I chose these two vibrant works because they exemplify the Abstract Expressionist influence and aesthetic parallels seen across categories in this sale. Similar to his paintings, Sean Scully’s works on paper are a steadfast commitment to abstraction.
The visual harmony and rich saturation of Untitled (1982) are mirrored in the photograph from David Maisel’s Terminal Mirage series, which focuses on industrial pollution in and around Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Both artists exhibit a controlled use of abstraction that establishes a tension that is at once thoughtful and beautifully complex.
Lindsay Griffith, Prints specialist
I’ve always been drawn to works in black and white across mediums, and two of my favourite examples from this sale are the Vija Celmins Night Sky print and Vera Lutter’s Fulton Ferry Landing, Manhattan Skyline, Brooklyn, New York photograph. Both images have much in common, particularly the technique that was used and the artists’ melding of traditional and contemporary iconography.
Lutter’s photograph uses the camera obscura technique to capture the New York skyline, an effect that she achieved by projecting images through a pinhole. Negative and positive space play a similar role in the print by Celmins, in which different gradations of light and shadow are conveyed with a variation in ink tone. I also love that both images share a strict economy of form, where the most basic shapes, tones and lines are used to create something novel and compelling.